Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Bittersweet Sendoff and the Bottom Line

Team Tucson took off for Alaska today to run the Mayor's Midnight Marathon in Anchorage (although I hear it's not run at Midnight anymore)

There are a total of 3,500 runners, 615 of them are TNT participants who raised over THREE MILLION DOLLARS in the fight to cure blood cancers.  That's amazing.

And bittersweet for me because I so SO wanted to be there, but with school and life in general, it just wasn't possible for me this year.  I'm really excited to hear the race reports when they come back- always such a fun time, to see first-timers' faces lit up with the experience of getting a medal (and the ever-coveted TNT pin). 

The other day I got into a conversation with someone who was preparing to run his first 5k (the Coronado Island one, I'd love to run that some day) and he asked me if I had any advice...and I thought about it....of course the usual runs through my head "Nothing new on race day!  Hydrate! Put BodyGlide everywhere, even in places that never see daylight!"......but then I realized that none of that mattered (that much) in a 5k and they were all Moo points (thanks, Joey) anyway unless you (and this is what I told him):

1) Have Fun and Smile.  No, seriously.  Enjoy every minute you're on that course (barring serious injury, cramps, etc etc).  Running the race is like....30% of the experience.  There's packet pickup, t-shirt getting, playlist making (if you run with music), outfit coordinating, and REALLY getting to savor a start and finish line.  So what if it's a splash of flour that someone threw on a sidewalk?  It's a finish's tangible, and the feeling you get when you cross it?  Priceless (even if it does come with a side of "OhmygodI'mneverdoingthisagainI'msogladit'sover").  You did it, now wear that T-shirt with pride!  DO IT.

2) Don't go out too fast.  We've all done this.  You say you haven't?  Liar.  I recently witnessed this phenomenon  a couple of weeks ago at a local 5k.  At mile 1 all of the peacocks (you know, the ones who shave everything and run shirtless with their pecs flexed the whole time?) who sprinted out at the beginning started dropping like flies.  One by one they would look around self-conciously, hang their head, and start walking.  Okay, hang on.  There is NOTHING wrong with walking.  For f's sake, every race I've run has been run/walk.  However, walking was clearly not in the plan for these guys and the looks on their faces and the way they were carrying themselves was...well, sad. 

Granted, the spirit of this event was an emotional one- it was the first race of the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown (he was Gabrielle Giffords' staff member who lost his life on January 8th) and Gabe's Dad was at the start line and there wasn't a dry eye who toed the line. So everyone was a little charged....

There's something about pinning on a race number (aka bib) that makes you feel a little more special.  I'm totally serious.  As dumb as it sounds, the second you are identified as a NUMBER on a race course?  It's go time.  And I told this person that- it's fun, but watch yo'self. 

So yeah, don't go out too fast, you'll be a sad panda at mile 1 if you do. 

3) And really, hydration isn't a bad idea either.  Having 3 beers and an iced tea and an ice cream cone the day of a night run is not a wise choice.  I didn't to this (I promise), but I know someone who did and maybe he didn't have such a fun time on the course.

Bottom line: Have fun, smile, and if you don't think you're going too slow, you're going too fast. 


(and ps- 5 more days of school, but who's counting?)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Anybody Home?

I know.


I'm sorry.

Here are my excuses:
1) I got into grad school and have been working my little running arse off.  Did I mention the program is at night and I'm still working full time?  Thankfully I have a summer break coming up and I'll graduate in December, but man.....I'm tired.

2)  Um..  Yeah.  That's all I got.  I didn't stop training, but I did scale waaaaaay back on the mileage.

I was talking to Todd about my apprehension about letting my training go, giving up my mileage base, and all of those running diva fears, when he reminded me that I ran six marathons in exactly 2 years (bookended by the Rock N' Roll Arizona Marathon, 2009 and 2011).  That really put things in perspective for me, so I figured it was okay to cool the running jets for a little bit and focus on some other stuff like, oh, I don't know, getting a Masters Degree?

So I decided to sign up for a Triathlon instead.

I know, that makes a lot of sense, right?  It seemed like a neat idea at the time (and it still does, to be honest).

So I joined the Y and started (trying) to swim.  Then I bought a bike and started riding (which I love). 

Man, training for a triathlon takes a LOT of work and time.  Not exactly what you would heap onto the plate with an extra serving of overtime at work with a side of grad school.  Oh well.

So here's the recap of the last 2 years' worth of races and times (as I can recall them).

January 2009: Rock N Roll Arizona- 5:11
Ocober 2009: Nike Women's Marathon- 5:05
December 2009: Las Vegas Rock N Roll- 4:35
March 2010: Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon (TNT Alumni Run)- 1:59 and something
June 2010: Rock N Roll San Diego- 4:30
October 2010: Mt. Lemmon Marathon (yes, it was up Mt.Lemmon- 6,000 feet elev. gain)- 6:09
January 2011: Rock N Roll Arizona- 4:10.  (I know, right? I beat 2009's time by an HOUR!)
March 2011: Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon- 2:02 (but I was in a tutu)

Todd ran his first full marathon at the Rock N Roll Arizona and finished in 4:45.  I was SO PROUD of him!

And since Blogger has changed a few things, now I can't upload that picture....

Anyway, that's what's up, I'll be back more now that summer's here. 

My first Tri is on July 3rd, the Firecracker Triathlon.
I'm really looking forward to it, and hopefully I'll have some pictures to share!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fundraising Email #1

Dear Family and Friends:

Happy April!  I hope this email finds you doing well and enjoying your spring.

As you know, for the last two years, I've been with Team in Training, participating in marathons to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society- to honor those who have won or lost their battles with blood cancer. 

The last time you received an email from me, I was preparing to run the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.  With your help, we raised almost 14 million dollars, and the number of people who died each hour from blood cancers decreased by one.  So now each day, 24 lives are saved and it's all thanks to people like you- the generous contributors who graciously donate to fund research and ultimately find a cure.

This time I'm gearing up to run the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon, and I'm so excited to be representing Team in Training and LLS for my fourth event.  I've committed to raise $2,900 by May 1st (yes, that's a month from now) and I'm asking for your help yet again.

You may have heard me tell this story before, but it is the perfect snapshot of why I continue to fundraise: while I was running the Las Vegas Rock N' Roll Marathon (in my Team jersey), a man passed me, turned around and as he shook my hand he said "I have Leukemia, thank you so much for what you do".

To have a complete stranger approach you and let you know that they have been helped by your efforts, and that their life may be a bit better because of gives me goosebumps.  It also makes my determination that much stronger.

What a great example to show that your money gives hope to those patients and I am fortunate enough to represet the LLS because of your generosity.  Your donation could provide a patient transportation to their chemo treatment sessions, or a place for their family to stay if they are being treated out of town.  It could cover their insurance copays or pay for their treatment outright if they are not fortunate enough to have health insurance.  And now, more than ever, they really need your help.

Every dollar counts and no amount is too small (or too big!).  I know these hard economic times have affected us all, so thanks in advance for your help, and and Go Team!!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Something really cool just happened

So, last week, I sent out a fundraising email to kickstart my San Diego campain (annnd, that's 8 weeks until race day, but in my defense, I just finished fundraising for the Arizona Distance Classic!).....

....and fellow teammates, you know those emails....those ones that say "Donation Notification"?  And you get one and your hear flutters and you feel like the most loved person on earth?  Or, in my case my phone goes blingblongbleep and I check the message and there's one of those emails??  Yeah, those ones.

So...I didn't get any of those emails....and I had such a busy week at work that I didn't bother going to my fundraising webpage to check my progress.  It was kind of in the back of my head that maybe my email was too pushy or people were rolling their eyes saying "AGAIN?  Doesn't she ever stop?"

I just logged onto my page and almost peed my pants when I saw that there was already $160 in my account.  From where??!  Turns out people had been donating the whole time, there was just some glitch on my page (I'll figure it out eventually) and I was never notified. 

Again, I am so touched by the generosity of my friends and family.  Annnnd, if you donated, your thank-you note might be a bit late.  :) 

So with a wonderful surprise donation total, I am excited to kickstart my fundraising for the San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon!  GO TEAM!

Tomorrow's practice run is in Sabino Canyon- I get to run 8 beautiful miles in the desert morning sun and I feel so blessed.  Happy running!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Here I am after finishing the Las Vegas Rock N' Roll Marathon in December. Official Time: 4:35:19. THAT'S what I'm talking about! This race was so much fun, I've decided to do it again this year. Let's GO TEAM!!

THE race report.

I wrote about three different reports and they all sounded so whiney and just….not me, so I went mile by mile (sort of) just to put it all out there. Here’s the bottom line: I didn’t follow the most sage piece of running advice that was bestowed upon me: Race how you train. I got caught up in the excitement and paid for it later, but looking back (almost 6 months later), in a strange way, I don’t regret what happened at all. It’s made me a stronger runner mentally and that’s a big part of the pie when you’re out there marathoning (and half-marathoning!) So take it for what it is: a race report (without pictures right now, because I’m lazy)

Mile 1- This I where I threw all judgment out the window. Instead of walking every mile like I did when I trained for 5 months, I decided that running to the water stations would be a better idea. Translation: instead of walking every mile, I’d be walking every 2-3 miles. No problem, I thought- it’s totally doable. Wrong. I’ll elaborate on the wrong part later.

Miles 2-5: Sort of a blur. We went through by Fisherman’s Wharf and Boudin’s Bakery, where the smell of freshly baked sourdough filled the streets….mmmm….we also ran by a group of bagpipers, a gospel choir, Ghirardelli Square, and some cheerleaders.

Mile 6: This is where we ran uphill for basically a mile. I’m not kidding. And partway through, I already knew that my brilliant “I don’t need to walk” strategy was already coming back to bite me in the ass. Hard. Coach Ashley caught up with us and I just huffed and puffed as she talked to me.

Miles 7-12: Hills and orange slices. And Luna Moons (those gummy nutrition chews). That’s all I remember. Seriously. Oh, and some guy on a microphone shouting at us that we were at mile 11.

Mile 13: I was totally screwed at this point and I knew it- I’d run too far too fast and I was totally out of juice. I occurred to me to get back into my interval, which helped a little bit. And I won’t lie- I considered splitting off with the halfers and finishing early, but I knew that I would regret that even more, so I plodded on.

Mile 16: Todd and my parents were there to cheer me on, and I broke town into a pool of tears and sweat. I told them that I really didn’t know if I could do it. My dad, in his infinite wisdom replied “Sure you can! You only have 10 more miles to go!”. Turns out a guy behind me had completely collapsed and an ambulance was in the process of loading him up. I didn’t even see it, I was that tired.

Mile 17: I remember telling myself to “Act normal” for fear that a medical staff person would spot me looking like total crap and pull me from the course….so I worked really hard on staying upright. I told you it was bad. This stretch was long the Pacific Coast Highway and I didn’t even care about the view….

Mile 18: Coach Glin caught up with me and told me “All you have to do is run around the lake” and I looked out at this series of ponds. When he told me I had to run around the whole thing, I seriously cried. “I can’t do it, I can’t”, I said. He told me that it was a little late for that and that he’d see me on the other side, so on I went to run around the lake.

Miles 19-22: Lake Merced. Talk to anyone who has run this marathon, and they will all describe running around this lake with the same word: Lonely. It was quiet and thought-provoking, and not in a good way, but mile 21 (I think?) was the Chocolate Mile- Ghirardelli placed several tables with squares of chocolate for the runners to eat. J A Team coach from another chapter checked on me, which I really appreciated. “Hey Arizona, you okay? Need Gu’s or salt?”. I just waved at him but his attention melted my heart a little and it gave me a boost.

Mile 23: The lake route ended (yay!) and I got back onto the PCH and meet back up with Coach Glin. Again, I’m not going to lie. I was in the “bite me” zone with teeth bared and fists up, so when Glin asked me how I was doing, I replied with a few four-letter words that made him laugh and me cry.

Miles 24-26.2: aka The Grand Handoff to Coach Ashley and Elsbeth Drops Her Basket. Jeez, I am such a drama queen, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. About 10 minutes after Glin turned back to find other teammates, I ran into Coach Ashley and totally lost it. And I mean lost it- I turned into a hysterical blubbering fool and she put her arm around me and said “It’s okay, I’m just going to run with you. Is that okay?” and she talked to me (but I didn’t talk back) and before I knew it she said “Can you see the finish line? Go for it. I’ll meet you there” and she fell back to let me cross the finish line alone.

I need to interject here to talk about John "The Penguin" Bingham- he mentions that moment where you just *know* you're going to finish. Sometimes it's early in the race, sometimes it's later, but when it hits you, savor it....enjoy it, and SMILE. Well....I didn't really know that I was going to finish until I saw the actual finish line- my mental state had been broken down to the level of a caveman's (no offense), so when I saw the big F I N I S H, that was the first time I realized that I was going to complete Marathon #2.

The pictures speak volumes- I went into Ugly Cry mode when I saw the actual banner that said “FINISH”. I crossed the finish line and what is this? A San Francisco firefighter in a tuxedo with a silver tray of *those* little blue boxes?? For ME?? And what was inside? A Tiffany’s pendant that says “Run Like a Girl”. Yeah, I did run like a girl. I cried like one too. Oh well.

So, all in all, not my finest run, but it was a learning experience and I got to redeem myself six weeks later in Las Vegas (oh boy, that report’s gonna be interesting).

And you know what? I’ll be back. Not next year but maybe 2011. I need to perfect my plot of revenge on the course. ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So...four months later

and there's still no Nike race update.

I'm a pretty bad blogger these days (or silent might be a better word).

I actually need to credit Nitmos at Feet Meet Street for getting me to flex my blogging muscles again. This guy is not only ridiculously fast (3:12 marathon PR), but he's really really really funny.

So, okay- here's a timeline of what's been going on.
October 18, 2009- Nike Women's Marathon. Time: 5:05:05 (I have the Tiffany's necklace to prove that I finished). Seriously, I will write a race report.

December 6, 2009- Inaugural Las Vegas Rock N' Roll Marathon. Time: 4:35:19. No, that's not a typo. Seriously, the run of my life. Holy crap.

January 2010- The month of the kitchen remodel, the entire house turns upside down, life gets really hectic.

January 30, 2010- Training with the Team begins for the Arizona Distance Classic. It's a local half marathon and TNT Alumni come together to train and we commit to raising $500. I am having so much fun with them- such a great group of people.

So here's a peek into the future. Remain seated please. Permanecer sentados por favor.

March 28- Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon. I'd like to beat 2 hours, but with some rolling hills, this course might not lend itself to such a goal. I'll have fun trying, though. :)

April 24- Desert Dash Half Marathon. Another local half. Not sure if I'm going to sign up for this one or not......

June 6- San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon. I JUST signed up with the Team to run this one. I'm really REALLY excited. :)

October 17- Mt. Lemmon Marathon. Yes, that's 26.2 miles, UPhill. I have 10 hours to finish it. I hope that's enough time!

I don't have my San Diego website set up yet, but my ADC website is up and running!

Over Christmas, my mom sent me home with her old sewing machine. Well, I shouldn't say old, but it's the one she bought in 1978 and has since replaced it. I started making some cedar-filled shoe stuffers to sell to my teammates as a fundraiser. They're great for keeping in your stinky running shoes or tossing in your gym bag to absorb odors and moisture.

So to anybody donates $25 or more and would like a pair of shoe stuffers, let me know and I'll send you a pair. I have them in Team colors and other fun patterns (like lobsters or shamrocks).

That's it for I'm off to work on my Nike race report.

It's not going to be pretty, I'm just warning you. There's a reason I've been avoiding writing about it.