Monday, December 29, 2014

You're Still Writing?!?

I sat down to write this post two days ago.  Of course, I didn't focus full time on pull in this together, but it did take a decent amount of time.  Ava asked me about a half hour ago, 'You're still writing?!'.  I thank her for the reworked title.

If memory serves me well, this will be my third 'end of year' post.  Minus the time commitment, I do enjoy reflecting on the past twelve months: I relive some moments, reread a few posts and think about what goals to set in the upcoming year.

YOGA
I rounded the 2013 corner into 2014 with the continuation of my 200 hour yoga teacher training.  Finally, there was an end in sight: April 2014.  I knew, leading up to my final class, that I'd be missing the St. Luke's Half Marathon, but I made peace with that fact, as I made a commitment to finish my training.  Never one to take on too much, I studied for my ACE health coach certification in my spare time and successfully passed my exam in the middle of an amazing 'me time' week in May.
I have been teaching yoga for about ten years at a number of locations, both gym and studio settings. After having my Allison in 2011, I took an extended hiatus from teaching a number of weekly classes.  At the end of 2013, I picked up a 'regular' class, teaching in a studio every four weeks.  The structure of my teacher training and the more frequent teaching gig reinforced my focus on my personal practice.  I developed a new confidence in my teachings with the hopes of sharing my passion with those around me.  I always believed in the complementary benefits yoga offers the running lifestyle and I wanted to show other runners how the two blended well, like coffee and cream.  I developed enough content to hold a 'yoga for the runner' workshop.  I plan to offer the same workshop again in 2015.
I pounced on opportunities to sub classes for a medically based fitness facility which paid me back ten fold in exposure.  As luck would have it, I was approached to develop content for an amputee support group.  This charge put me well out my comfort zone, but I welcomed the change to do something different.  Months later, I was asked if I had availability to teach a yoga class for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  Uh, yes please.  I've since taught three classes (which are mandatory per Coach) to the team's full roster nearly 20 years my junior.  We're crammed in a small studio for roughly an hour, but the time is well spent — at least from my perspective.  If only they knew I was a die hard NY Rangers fan.

RUNNING - Breakin' Records
I have a difficult time reigning in my adrenaline when I toe the starting line.  Well, I don't every really 'toe the line', but in some cases, I come very close.  I'm more of a middle-of-the-pack starter.  I try to focus on the mantra of 'I'm just going to run', leading up to a race, but something changes in the hours/minutes before the start.  My mantra shifts to 'Do work'.  That's what happened this year when I broke almost every Personal Record set years before and found myself actually placing in my age group (AG).  

  • St. Pat's 5K is the opening race of MY season.  Already registered for the 2015 race, I'm hoping to PR.  
  • The Emmaus 4 Miler kicked my ass this year.  That's a small price to pay for placing 3rd in my AG.
  • Last year I vowed to run a race in OBX while on our vacation.  I feared that it would have been canceled in light of a Category 2 Hurricane.  I guess that I underestimated these hardcore race organizers.  I placed 1st in my AG.  
  • For the 3rd year in a row, I tackled the Runner's World Hat Trick - three races (5K, 10K & 1/2), over two days.  I PR'd the 10K, but the highlight of that event was watching my kids cross the finish line in their races.  
  • I kicked some serious ass in the NYC Marathon.  I'm still gushing.  I kicked so much ass that it warranted two posts (#1 & #2).  Yea, I kicked ass.
  • I ran my first cross country (XC) race as part member of my road runner's team.  There's nothing like a XC race to make you feel like the slowest runner in the entire universe.  
MEMORIES - Old and New
As I look back at my posts, I wrote a lot of reflective pieces on my childhood (Jersey Shore vacations and hanging at my grandmother's house) and more recent memories (listening to Jazz while drinking Earl Grey tea in my dorm room and being with my dog).  
I looked forward to creating new memories such as hiking with my Ava and continuing the OBX tradition.  

BITCHES, BOOKS, and BUBBLY
This time last year, I celebrated the 40th birthday of a fellow crazy.  We gathered early on a Saturday morning to log 13.1 miles in the Parkway.  As I mention in the post, we ran for health and friendship.  I'm happy to report, that this friendship continued through 2014 and is going strong.  We celebrated each other and our families; we banded together in support through challenging times.  We picked up another crazy along the way, who crossed over following a short pledging program (ahem, she was maced by another crazy, accidentally, of course).  They've changed the way I approach my running and they've given me the support when I needed a confidence boost.  Some may say that they're responsible for the decay of my tough exterior.  I could seriously write a book.
Wow, that was a wonderful segue.  
One crazy, in particular, has encouraged me, from the sidelines, to put my stories in print.  This book, is currently under construction.  I hope to have a full manuscript ready for submission by the end of 2015.  

WEATHER
Where there are Robertsssss' there will be weather, oftentimes, extreme weather.  
I'd like to believe that we should be held responsible for the following 2014 weather events:

To wrap up this already too long, disjointed post, a few notes worth mentioning, some that I carry from year to year:
  1. I owe everything to my family.  They support Muffin's Madness - both good and bad.  
  2. I did see a few movies in the theater.  Oh, and I didn't fall asleep!
  3. I continued my second year of rocking out more intensely Foo Fighters.  Their latest album was released late enough in the year that I need more time with it.  
  4. I read quite a few books having nothing to do with running.  I'll pick a handful to read in 2015.
  5. I wasn't able to complete my tee shirt quilt, again.  I'm just a little overwhelmed with the whole process.  
    • I crafted other things…including my secret Santa gift, which has yet to be revealed.
    • I’m probably going to outsource the quilt.  eff it.
  6. In 2013, I published 28 posts.  I blew that out of the water this year with 57 (includes this post).  Crap.  Not sure if I can keep this momentum through 2015.  We shall see.  Will a draft manuscript make up for the lack of posts?  You be the judge. 
  7. I will continue to train hard and break 2014 PR's.  Biggest race goal for 2015 - qualify for Boston in the Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via in September.  Whelp, now that's out there.  
Happy New Year, friends!
Thank you again for being with me on this blogging journey.  You are my silent audience - laughing, crying and screaming with me.  Cheers for a happy and healthy 2015!

Love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In the Shadows

For the first time in four days, I didn't run in the morning.

I ran Friday.
I ran Saturday.
I raced Sunday - good enough for 4th in my age group.
I ran Monday.

Today, I slept.

The girls stayed up a little later tonight to wrap gifts.  After I tucked them in bed, I suited up to continue my run streak with a mile in the basement.  In pajama pants and a sweatshirt, I walked downstairs and turned on the treadmill.  I kept only the stairwell light on since I can barely reach the pull for the bulb in the far corner of the basement.  The glow from both the display and the stairwell was enough to cast a shadow of myself on the adjacent wall.  I quickly glanced at the wall, then again, back to the wall ahead of me.

I felt so vulnerable among the shadows.  In a split second, I could lose my footing, or shift my gait and fly off the back of the treadmill.  Everything, without a moment's notice, could be changed forever.  The fragility of life began to suffocate me.  All that I know, all that I feel, contained in this perfect bubble, could have the air sucked out.  The overwhelming possibilities of this reality crushes my chest.  I can no longer take a deep breath.

And, with that, the treadmill hit 1 mile.
For now, the rest of those thoughts will have to remain in the shadows until next time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blinking Cursor

There's so much going on in my head right now, but all I can do is stare at this blinking cursor.  I push it around the page with my fingers, but when I pause to take a breath or organize a thought, it just laughs in my face, mocking me.

I know all the words I want to flow from the keyboard; however, the organization isn't quite there.  Backspace, backspace — lost in time.

This morning, I hit a local trail for a milestone run.  No, the distance wasn't remarkable and the landscape wasn't earth shattering, rather, I ran the farthest since the NYC Marathon.  We endured for eight miles - 4 miles out; 4 miles back.  We painted ourselves into that corner.

With three or so miles to go, I pulled away from the group.  The faster pace felt great on my legs — the cold air bled through the fabric, kissing my skin with frosty lips.  I had enjoyed the company for the first five miles, but something more powerful drove me to head out in front.  I spent the rest of the run trying to stop myself from drowning in the pool of my past.

A long time ago, I got knocked down.  So much time needed to pass before I was able to crawl.  I picked myself up, more than once, and pressed on.  I worked hard to get up again; this time, walking away.  I didn't even glance over my shoulder, although I knew eyes were still on me.  It took more time to shake the burning eyes drilled into the back of my head.  My skin crawled as I ran; faster and harder.

There is no escape, only temporary solace.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Don't Ask

Why am I still awake?
Do not ask. 
You pose a great question.  
No focus - conversation.
 
Running on little sleep. 
Hurts, oh so.
Contemplate to break the streak. 
Pressure, pride & a poem tweak. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Space

Just filling up space on the inter webs with this crappy post.
I ran a mile.
#rwrunstreak going strong


Monday, December 15, 2014

Tapestry

I got up at 4:35 this morning to meet the ladies for a 5 am run.  The temperature hovered just above 40 degrees, but the recent lack of sunshine is sucking the light from my soul.  I wore way more clothing than I should have — initially, I felt comfortable in my layers; by the time I hit two miles, I felt the material suffocating me.  Our miles in darkness, with no headlamps, tested our ability to sustain a zippy pace. I wanted to walk a few times, but pressed on; that decision was a matter of pride.  Four lousy miles later, we were done.

And, on went the day.

Here I sit, sixteen hours later, on my couch.  The pillows envelop me, trying to keep me protected from the cold.  Soon, it's happening already, the pillows will consume me and take me from the rest of this day.  Just like the tapestry that hung in my college dorm — consuming those who fell victim to the trance.

Perhaps, that's a story for tomorrow?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ciao, Bella!

Today's Sunday was all about cultural heritage, specifically, Italian heritage.  Ava selected Italy as her featured country.  She learned words like 'ciao', 'arrivederci', and 'famiglia' from my Dad.  He talked to her about his family and where in Italy ('the high-heeled boot, as Ava referenced) they originated. My Mom made pizzelle's (oldest Italian cookie) with her; they made enough to feed each of Ava's classmates.  I spent the afternoon making tomato sauce (ahem, gravy) to accompany my rice ball with beef casserole.  Thank God for sharp provolone.

Domenica lezioni di italiano con nonno
I topped off my Sunday supper with two glasses of wine before hitting the treadmill for my mile.  The wine sloshed in my belly with each stride; I occasionally grabbed onto the handrails to catch myself.  I definitely ran my slowest mile in a while.  I couldn't believe that I ran 8-ish minute miles yesterday; I could barely muster a 10 minute mile.

Photography Credit: Jill Forsythe
I didn't run my fastest yesterday, but I had a great time, considering it was my first cross country experience.  For most of the race I hung with that woman in the green singlet.  We played a game of 'Frogger' mid-race, until I finally passed her on a hilly turn.  I caught up with her after we crossed to congratulate her on a great race.  She helped me kick it at the end.
And, today, I couldn't even run a 9 minute mile.
Damn you, running...playing games with my head.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

USATF National Club Cross Country Championship

I ran my first Cross Country race today...with my usual running shoes.
Representing Lehigh Valley Road Runners as the hosting organization, I was a member of the 2nd women's 6K open team.  The USA Track & Field National Championship event was held on the campus of Lehigh University.  I won't bore you with the details (and I'm tired), but I put up an okay show considering my late start (12:45 pm) on minimal nutrition.  There were a two very muddy sections, but other than that, the course was great.

Definitely need to take the Crazies there.

Women's Master's 6K Start

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Drive

People continue to amaze me:
I sat on my ass dreading my 1 mile run in the cold basement. I'd would have rather gone to bed.  There I was, with a warm laptop laid across my extended legs soaking up the heat from the pellet stove.  I got sucked into surfing.  
In my travels through the interconnected webs I come across a picture of a woman with a beaming smile, standing next to Bart Yasso of Runner's World.
This proud woman had finished the Richmond Half Marathon (which was held last month) while battling Stage 4 Cancer. Yesterday, she lost her fight. 
Tonight I got up off my ass and ran a mile for her.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes

A few months back I signed up to be a mystery reader in my daughter's 1st grade class.  Today was the day.  When I hear the word 'mystery' I think of my Mom; I think of Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew; I think of being in disguise.  I planned to show up, in disguise, as the mystery reader.  My work day was interrupted by a 4 hour break, which I highly recommend that everyone try at least once.  It's quite rejuvenating to work a few hours, leave for personal reasons and return mid-afternoon to finish the day.  I left work promptly at 10 am to log a few miles on the treadmill.  For about 1.5 miles of walking I caught up with an old co-worker.  I didn't expect to walk that long, but the conversation was most welcomed.  At the close of our exchange, I kicked up the speed a few notches and took off for 2.5 miles.
I hurried home to grab two books ("Harold and the Purple Crayon" and "If I Ran the Circus") and change into my disguise.  I spent some time trying to stuff all my hair into the cropped blonde wig.  I slipped into a 'grandma' style sweater and accessorized my animal print pants with a pair of boots.  Sunglasses and lipstick completed the look.
The women at the school's front office couldn't believe my outfit.  I guess mystery readers don't really dress up!  I signed in, waiting a few minutes in the lobby before getting permission to head to the classroom.  As I entered the room, I noticed all the kiddos camped out on the carpet waiting for their special guest.  The teacher glanced at me when a confused eye before asking me a few questions, such as: "What are you here for?" and "Which classroom are you looking for?"  I thought she was playing along, until I realized that she had no clue who was standing before her.  Less than 5 minutes later, I took off my sunglasses.  Ava's gaze changed and her mouth dropped as she buried her face in her hands.  She turned beet red watching me pull the wig off of my head.  Lots of hugs, smiles, and two books later, I'd say that the 30 minute event was a success.


A few people think I'm nuts for doing this, but the kids and I had fun.  Besides, we all go a little mad sometimes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Things

I finally started playing around with iMovie.  I still suck at it, but it's getting there.
This movie should redeem me from my horrible first vlog posted a few days ago.  I'm not taking it down from my site, but I'm certainly not going to flaunt it.  


I'm not happy that I'm unable to play the perfect track due to copywriting issues.  Oh well, it's a start.

And yes, I ran my mile today.  

Jazz Therapy

No music here. 
My post, late last night, mentioned the sweet Jazz sounds paired with good company and tea. 

Today, there was no other option to soothe my soul. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Swirling Cups of Tea

I completely forgot that I didn't post a blog yesterday. This run/blog streak has me questioning my activities in the day.  "Did I run my mile already?"  Sometimes a mile is a single event, whereas other times, it's sandwiched between other miles.  Today was a different story.  Some of the Crazies and I planned to run this morning, but for varying reasons it was not going to happen for any of us.  During the colder, darker months I swear that my usually dormant mono comes to life.  The lack of sun does a number on my psyche and begins to tear down my muscles.  Perhaps most of these feelings (both mentally and physically) are just the result of hypochondriac thinking; perhaps they are not.  Nevertheless, I could barely move my body this morning.  Of course, I became annoyed that I didn't take advantage of the opportunity knock off my mile in the wee hours of the morning.  Instead, I juggled many thoughts, one of them trying to figure out when I'd run.
I worked from home today, but needed to go in for a meeting closer to end of day.  All that changed by 9 am, when the appointment got rescheduled for 1 pm.  Well, crap, there goes my opportunity to Runch (run at lunch).  The remainder of the afternoon unfolded to offer me only one time slot - after the girls' bedtime.  As minutes blossomed into hours, my body began to break down.  Everything started to hurt.  I felt uncomfortable in my skin.  The nagging back pain that presents when I have abdominal pain returned.  I tried to stretch out my aches to no avail.  Suddenly, I was craving a full yoga practice.  Wow.  A full yoga practice (for me - Ashtanga Primary Series) takes roughly 90 minutes from start to finish.  I certainly wouldn't have that kind of time to crank that out, but my body told me it had to happen.  She can be so bossy.
I made a delicious dish of chicken marsala and a side of massaged kale with orange peppers and tangerine pieces.  I tried to eat light knowing that I'd be running a mile and possibly hitting the mat.  Allison played with scissors (in the most appropriate way), while the hubbs and I worked with Ava on her cultural project for school.  Thirty minutes from bedtime, the girls watched a short show with a bowl of popcorn in hand.  Two empty bowls later, I put the girls to bed and ran my mile.

Damn you, left hamstring for annoying the rest of my left leg.  Back off shoulders get away from my ears.  Ugh, I needed a good stretch in the worst way.  I hit my mile and shut off the treadmill before heading upstairs to the warm family room.  The pellet stove blasted heat from it's belly.  I unrolled my mat facing the stove hoping to get lost in the fire.  I set the TV to the jazz channel and began my practice with 5 Sun Salutation A's.  My eyes got lost in the fire and my mind got lost in the jazz.  I was reminded of cool/cold nights sitting in my dorm room with a good friend.  (It felt like) every night, we'd sit adjacent to each other, with an end table between us listening to jazz radio.  The paraphernalia on the table included two steaming hot mugs of Earl Grey tea, dressed with sugar cubes and cream.  We drank and smoked; we talked and listened.  We got lost and didn't want to be found.  And that's where I wound up this evening.  I got lost in my mat and opted to not be found.

Lost

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Nice Little Saturday

Slept in as permitted
Empty coffee.  Repeated.
Tree trimmed, holiday spirit
Safe from the storm, not to fear it

Life's triumph; young and old
Dining together, a bond foretold
A mile away, a mile behind
Head to pillow, my drifting mind









Friday, December 5, 2014

Memories

This morning I ran one mile on the treadmill while sobbing.  At times, I needed to hang onto the handles to keep myself on the belt.  I had one focus that I couldn't shake - my dog.  If you have followed my blog I posted almost two years ago one serious tear jerker.  I poured my heart out onto that page.  I told myself that I wouldn't link to that post here.
So many memories of him running through my mind that I believe were triggered when I put the stupid tree skirt on last night.  When I was 'mature' enough to put up a tree in my own apartment, my mom gave me a box of trimmings, which included a small, plaid tree skirt.  But wait, it didn't stop there; a black felt schnauzer repeats around the base of the skirt.  Don't misunderstand my words, for the skirt isn't too tacky.  It's just, in my opinion, a random item from my mom's travels.  We did not have a dog growing up and when we occasionally entertained the thought of getting a dog, a schnauzer never made the list.
Last night, as with every holiday season, I crawled around the floor, under the tree, to place the skirt around the base of the tree as best as I could manage.  And there they were, random dog hairs.  I made a Captain Obvious statement, "There are dog hairs on this tree skirt" and let the silence fall on my ears.  I sighed as I dropped my shoulders to overextend my arm to the opposite end of the skirt.  My head fell forward.  I relaxed my arm to the floor and let my head hang for a few seconds, taking in that moment of another holiday tree trimming without the Buddy.
For those of you who remember, I still haven't replaced the bulb in the back porch light.  Occasionally, I accidentally flip that switch mistaking it for the laundry room light.  As if the future of mankind depended on that switch residing in the 'off' position, I quickly correct it, never once forgetting the symbolism of that beacon in the night.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Week 1, Run Streak - Check

I hit five + miles this morning with the Crazies.  We ran one of my rough routes consisting of unsuspecting hills followed my a few more hills.  We didn't appear to have much energy, but we powered through to finish in under 50 minutes.
The streak continues.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

First Time for Everything

Had to get the mile in today after dinner. I was lazy this morning; I just couldn't peel myself out from underneath all the layers. So snugly.

I ran in a mean pair of boots (think: Army issued boots). My shins are WARM. How do those guys do it for distance? I'll never know. 

Listen to a brief description of my mile today in my first ever vlog.


I don't really run like that.
I don't really talk like that.
I think I really resemble the dude that is in the Marathon Thoughts video.  Ugh.
It was a challenge to hold the phone while running in those boots.
Whatever.

More to come.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One - Ha Ha Ha

One.
One mile (nestled in three).
One steaming cup of coffee.
One foam roller.
One yoga mat.
One.

Ha Ha Ha


(and then I thought of Metallica's One, which seems to trump the Count.)


Monday, December 1, 2014

Lunchtime Lynchpin

Instead of meeting up with the ladies for a 5 am 5 mile run, I opted to snuggle a little longer.  Ahhh, the extra snoozing time was needed.  This morning was relatively relaxed as it came to the usual get ready routing.  Alli wanted to snuggle and Ava had difficulties waking up.  I struggled with a fresh pimple on my face, a situation temporarily relieved by a delicious cup of coffee.
Ava and the hubbs went to the bus stop while I stayed behind organizing my items for the day ahead. I heard the bus cruising by the house and immediately walked into the dining room to peer out the window.  The red lights on the cheese wagon flashed until the bug resumed movement.  I blew a kiss and said good-bye with a wave as the bus coasted over the hill.  A wave of sadness crashed over me.  

I felt distracted the rest of the day, but I logged a mile prior to lifting over lunch.  I tried my best to focus on the work, at hand, but I was mildly distracted by the gym rats who spent more time socializing and flexing in the mirror than actually doing anything physical.  As that lunchtime mile faded further into the distance of my day, I became more and more thankful for getting it out of the way.  I longed to get home, throw on my pajamas and have a glass of wine.  My evening didn't turn out as glamorous, but I did accomplish those tasks.  

So here I sit, listening to the sound of the heat and the spin of the washing machine by myself.  I'm struggling to stay awake, but I need to get those clothes in the dryer.  And finish this obligatory post.  


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hot Stuff

Most of the time, especially when the weather 'dips' below 65 degrees, I struggle to stay warm.  I can run a race at 30 degrees in shorts and a tee-shirt, but when I'm not active, forget about it.  Today was different.  I had a pot of turkey stock on a rolling boil for at least 5 hours.  The house smelled like Thanksgiving (a smell my home missed this year).  I planned to make turkey noodle soup for dinner with extras for a few lunches and the freezer.
By the time I needed to get dressed for my evening yoga class, I was wearing a short sleeved shirt, jeans and no socks.  I prepared for a cool studio and an even colder blast of outdoor air, but was pleasantly surprised.  The studio was warm, borderline hot.  I immediately regretted my choice in outfit, as I led the class through a series of strong poses.
I got home close to 7 pm with a grumbling belly.  I needed to log my mile, but figured I'd do it after the girls went to bed.  In a matter of 5 minutes, I opted to quick run so I could fill up on turkey noodle soup.  I laced up my shoes and coasted down the stairs.  As a 1/4 mile displayed, I shed my outer layer.  My pants, although not idea, were better than the pair of pajama pants I wore on Friday.  Before hitting 3/4 of a mile, I turned on the fan.  After my mile, I dialed down the speed and walked for about 3 minutes.  I knew that walking upstairs would suck out all my energy as the kitchen level would be a wall of warmth.
Yup.  That's what happened.  I immediately started sweating.  I flung off my shoes and ripped off my wet socks, gross.  I rolled up the legs of my pants, yup, hot and tried to cool off.  But, I, too, was hungry, so I heated up a big bowl of soup to the point of near scalding.  I ate, hovering over the bowl, inhaling the goodness through both my mouth and my nose while sweating profusely.  My physical condition and the temperature of the liquid didn't halt my efforts in devouring my dinner.
The time that passed while putting the girls to bed and packing up the soup leveled me out again.

So here I sit, wearing socks with fuzzy boots, flannel pants and a sweatshirt (oh and a glass of Orchata on the rocks).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Three's A Charm

Three sentences:
1). I ran 6.5-ish miles with the Crazies this morning, all ninja'd out.
2). The Rangers won their third contest against the Flyers.
3). I'm wrapping up one busy day with a glass of Orchata before hitting the pillow.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Multiple Streaks

I opened my eyes to the sound of my children singing songs in what I thought were the wee hours of the morning.  I checked my phone to see it just shy of 8 am.  Wow.  I slept until 8 am and the kids didn't wake me any earlier.  I'd like to think they were quiet enough to not wake me, but I'm more likely to believe that they got some extra sleep.  After a round of coffee, we zipped over to drop off my car for the break check and went home to get ready for Philly to see the 1 pm Rangers/Flyers game.  We ate shit for lunch, the girls cheered for the Flyers (which was adorable considering their choice in team) and I walked away a happy Ranger fan (Rangers 3 - Flyers 0).

Pregame Family Pic
I picked up my car after the game.  Thankfully, the screeching sound was the result of a rock wedged between the front break and the disc.  The mechanics removed the rock and completed my inspection.  I zipped to the grocery story for a few items.  Dinner consisted of leftover turkey sandwiches.  I got the kids settled with their sandwiches so I could get my mile in.

Outfit: Long sleeve, hooded shirt under a tee shirt paired with lightweight fleece jam pants.

Pre-mile warm up: Whelp, I was going in the basement anyway, so I quickly gathered up the Fall/Thanksgiving decorations and put them away in their bin.  Three trips did the trick.

I immediately started running an 8:55 while cursing the loose waist band and my glasses.  I hate running with glasses.  I tried to hold up my pants with no success.  I placed my glasses on the ledge of the display and increased the speed.  As I reached 1/4 mile, I desperately wanted to rip off my long sleeve shirt.  I sucked it up, increasing the speed.  The faster I'd run, the faster it'd be over.
I ended my mile at a 7:30 pace and took the speed back down to a brisk walk.

Post Mile
Rangers have won 2 out of 2 games against the Flyers.  Will they maintain the streak, like me, by winning tomorrow?  Let's Go Rangers!!!



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give Thanks, Drink Coffee, Go Streaking


Today is day one of my run streak.  I planned to hit the road with a few of the Crazies somewhere between 7 - 7:30 am, a 'late' time for us.  My mini-me stumbled into my room sometime after 6 am hysterically recounting a dream about spiders.  I scooped her up and walked downstairs.  I settled her on the couch with a snuggly blanket before making 'holiday' coffee — sweet with sugar.  The Crazies, two of whom would be running for the first time post marathon, and I opted to meet at 8:15 am for an easy run.  I spent the extra quiet time evaluating a fitness management profile which would help form a training program for a 'potential' client.  I quickly made a grocery list (read: procrastination), got changed (damn, where were my gloves) and trudged through my driveway's snow.  I caught a ride with one Crazy; my car started making an awful sound (think: tines of a metal fork scraping a blackboard), so it was in my best interest to not drive my car.  Following a round of Thanksgiving hugs, the virgins and I sprung into action slightly diverting ourselves from the usual route.  
We talked, we breathed, we cautiously navigated traffic and slushy intersections.  We managed to crank out five easy miles.  After another round of hugs and well-wishes, we parted ways to spend the holiday with our families.  I'm thankful for the time we were able to spend together.  The run, as always, was both physically and emotionally therapeutic.

It's a blessing for us to be together on the run and a blessing for me to come home to my family.


Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Streaking

I'm going streaking.
I went streaking a few years ago.
Um, let me clarify -  A RUN STREAK.
In 2011, I participated in a run streak.  The goal was to run one (1) mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  It's just one mile, right?  On days I didn't hit the road to log some miles, I'd shuffle down to my basement to run 1 mile on my dreadmill. I've run miles a number of ways just to get it done — barefoot in my jammies, wearing old sneakers and jeans, wearing a sweatshirt and no pants, half asleep some nights while holding on to the handlebars, engaging in a near sprint to bank that mile just before midnight (I may have passed out on the couch before I made it to the basement), drunk after an indulgent evening...and the list goes continues.  It's really only 1 mile, but some days, it was the longest mile known to man.  

So again, in 2014, I will participate in the run streak, but I'm going to double the streaking: I will publish one blog post to catalog my daily mile.  

Here's what I'm asking of you:
Please follow this blog to share in my journey.  Maybe it'll encourage you to join me, maybe you'll be turned off to never read my crap again.  Either way, I'm making a difference.  :)    

After all...it's only ONE MILE. 


Yes.  We're Going Streaking!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What's Next?

And like that, its over — months of focused training, leading up to a sub-4 hour marathon.  Poof.  Over.
I'm bored.

Well, not really, but you know me - I'll have to find something else to do.  There's a small, yet time sensitive project I'm working on; that'll occupy me for a short while.  I need something physical to do.

I'll go to the gym.
I unofficially decided two weeks leading up to the NYC Marathon that I would spend the winter months lifting.  Don't sweat, all three of you.  I've been down this road twice before.  Years ago I worked with a trainer who focused on building up my chicken legs.  He designed a killer program of leg presses, squats, Romanian deadlifts (my fav) and other exercises.  Every third workout the weight increased.  Although I got stronger and continued to handle the additional weight, I failed to put on any extra muscle.  Even he was shocked at my inability to 'bulk up'.  I'm not looking to pack on 50 lbs. of muscle; however, I'm looking to use the time to create more efficiencies in preparation for next year's races.

Yesterday was day 1.

Studio prepped for 'special' yoga class
I was scheduled to teach a yoga class to a group of professional athletes (! gushing !) at 11 am.  I prepped the room an hour before their arrival and used the extra time to hit the weights.  It's been about 9 months since I lifted; I worked with a great trainer who developed a handful of effective programs, but from that point on my focus shifted to running and yoga.  I had personal goals that didn't involve weights.

The gym was empty except for a creeper guy watching my every move.  I set up shop on a bench closest to the windows.  And then, something amazing happened.  I had no clue what to do.  I had no plan.  I scoped out a set of dumbbells and got to work.  Alas, my trainer walked over, excited that I started to reintroduce strength training to supplement my running.  The first words out of my mouth, "I don't know what I'm doing.  I do plan on picking up these things and then putting them down." He laughed and told me that I was on the right track.  After a few sets of chest presses, squats/press, lunges, single arm rows and, of course, Romanian deadlifts, I wiped off the bench and hit the locker room to get ready for my class.  I absolutely reaped the benefits of demonstrating most of the yoga poses to the group.  Little did I know that, although the weight was low enough, I'd be sore the following morning.

Tomorrow, should be another gym day.  I might pick up more things and put them down again.  Oh, it's going to be a long winter.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Marathon Madness: Chapter 2

The better start to the second part of this story (read part 1 here) would be for me to tell you that I woke before my alarms, refreshed, ready to rock.  In reality, the hotel alarm, set for 6 am by the previous tenant pierced through the room's silence at 5 am (daylight savings, remember?).  Whelp, now we were up.  I laid there for a few messaging my crazies, planning my next move.  To my dismay, the in-room coffee pot only supplied ONE SUGAR PACKET for my hot tea.  I dumped the steaming beverage into the sink having already decided that a trip to the lobby's Starbucks would remedy this situation.  No line and a speedy barista got me back to the room within ten minutes.  I massaged my calves prior to pulling on my compression sleeves.  In between bites of my nut bar swirled in sips of chai tea, I put on another piece of my outfit.  The dressing process was so drawn out, but taking my time helped me remain focused and relaxed.  At 6:30 am, after a giant hug, kiss and well wishes from the hubbs, I walked out the door in my super sexy, yet warm, layers and my items for the bag check.

On my way
I pushed through the lobby's revolving doors onto West Avenue.  I took a deep breath, allowing the cold to settle into my lungs.  I noticed that the temperature didn't seem as cold as what was being reported and the wind certainly didn't whip as much as I was led to believe.  Maybe this wouldn't be a uphill battle.  The streets were virtually empty aside from the occasional pedestrian.  It wasn't until I turned the corner onto Broadway, headed south, that I encountered a developing sea of people all headed towards the Staten Island Ferry.

Manhattan side of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal
At first, I felt like a dork snapping pictures, but I settled into the fact that I just didn't care. Today would be mine.

The terminal held hundreds of runners, and maybe two sorry souls who never ran a mile in their lives.    (not that there's anything wrong with that).  I shuffled over to the far wall parking my butt on the floor .


Keeping to myself, I scanned the crowd making little observations.  The excitement and tension of the upcoming race filled the spaces between people like applying caulk to a window seam.  I just kept breathing.  A petite, blond runner hustled over to the empty spot next to me and plopped down.  Without exchanging introductions, we conversed about the race, our training and our home towns (she was from Texas - traveled alone, but stayed in Manhattan with friends of a friend).  The 7:15 ferry group lined up at five after the hour.  We wished each other well assuming our paths would never cross again.  Years have passed since I hopped the ferry, but I quickly reeducated myself on the nuances of funneling through the slip.  Although there were available seats inside the boat I chose to sit outside on the upper deck for a few reasons: 1). I wanted to acclimate myself to the crisp air.  2). I needed to experience everything awesome about the ride across NY Bay.

Upper Left: Manhattan Skyline; Upper Right: One Excited Girl;
Lower Right: Lady Liberty; Lower Left: Coast Guard Escort
I absorbed the sights for the duration of the trip, again, maintaining my silence.  I still had a long way to go until my start time (Wave 2 - 10:10 am); energy conservation was the top priority.  As the boat approached the Staten Island side, I walked inside towards the exit.  Ten or so minutes later the boat docked and the mob poured into the terminal.

Good thing I'm okay with crowds
Like throwing water onto a Gremlin, the crowd multiplied.  We moved like molasses through the concourse.  The smells of coffee and breakfast pastries filled the air, teasing the runners.  Before long we spilled out on to the streets to wait for our next mode of transportation.

Busses lining Bay Street
Dozens of busses lined Bay Street, warm and ready to take us to the staging area in Fort Wadsworth.  The wind whipped through the crowd sending plastic bags flying.  My nervousness fired up while a shiver shuddered my body.  I tucked my chin into my chest and hugged my hands under my arms to conserve my heat.  Feeling like a cow in line to slaughter, I pressed forward following the runner ahead of me.  I watched my steps up into the bus and found a soft seat near the back.  Before we pulled away from the curb I started to sweat.  The bus got hot with the volume of people crammed in the seats and aisles.  I began to feel uncomfortable, but soon found peace knowing my future would be cold and windy.  As fast as a bus can barrel down a street in a caravan, we cruised down Bay Street.  My eyes glued to the scenery, I scoped the area for the bars in Stapleton I used to frequent in college.  I snapped a few photos, not worth sharing, that triggered a flood of memories.  Can't believe I'm still alive today.

I anticipated a 20 minute bus ride which turned into a near 60 minute crawl.  We finally reached our drop off - a mini-corral surrounded by fencing and officers.  Each bus had their own corral.  I walked up to the next available officer, stood like a star fish for the security wand and had my bag searched.  I was given 'the nod' and followed the crowd.



If all these people jumped off a bridge I'd be right behind them.
Instantly, an overwhelming sensation came over me.  This was it.  I was walking to the start of the NYC Marathon.  The wind picked up, so I walked faster trying to find my way to the Orange Start Village.  Clearly, not following the signage, I found myself waiting in line before 50 or so port-a-potty's located in the Blue Start Village.  I shivered, then realized that I was absolutely in control of my day.  I stood taller, refocused my shallow breathing and stretched my legs.  I reassured myself that the weather was colder and windier before the Tough Mudder.  The icing on this cake?  I wouldn't be getting wet.  And with that thought, everything turned around.  I successfully peed, when my turn was up, without touching ANYTHING.  With purpose, I marched myself over to the Orange Start Village to grab a cup of coffee.

View of Verrazano on the way to the Orange Start Village


Apparently, Dunkin' Donuts was handing out these cute hats.  Two warm hats are better than one, right?  As I approached the Dunkin' area a boisterous voice came over the PA system informing runners that the bag check would close at 9:25.  Holy shit!  It was 9:18.  All of a sudden, the time I had banked earlier in the day disappeared.  I now believe that this lapse in time was divine intervention - I don't EVER drink coffee before a run.  That could have been a grave mistake.  I made it to the UPS bag check (hell of an operation) with 2 minutes to spare.  Handsfree, I had no objective than to walk to my starting corral which would be closing in 5 minutes.

Wave 2 Runners in the Orange Start Village waiting at Corral C
I met two lovely women, again without exchanging introductions.  We gabbed about our hideous layers and the hot topic for the day, the weather.  BANG!  We all jumped for a moment thinking the worst.  I failed to remember that with each wave cannons are fired.  Wave 1 runners and the elite men were off.  Within ten minutes, we'd be going too.

Volunteers removed the gate holding us back at the threshold of Corral C.  I pulled off my lilac pants and threw them goodbye.  The gates opened while I pulled off my equally fashionable sweatshirt and tossed it into the clothing bin.  This was it.  I lined up next to a woman from Manhattan.  Same deal — we chatted like old girlfriends not knowing each other's name.  Oh well.  Must have been nerves.  She prepped me for the next milestones.  We'd be moving to our final staging area (I walked forward),
the national anthem would be sung (an audibly cold woman belted out the tune), and the Wave 2 cannons would fire (BANG!).  We were off and running.

Walking with Corral C to the final staging area
Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" vibrated through my ears as I passed the sound system.  Born ready, I started my watch in synch with my feet crossing the start line.  As I always dreamed, I ran on the upper level of the Verrazano.  To set the tone, I glanced at my watch and made a mental note of my pace.  The wind blew from all sides, ripping off people's hats and fluttering bibs.  I held onto my hat, with alternating hands, praying I wouldn't lose it to Mother Nature.  The climb to the center of the bridge seemed to take forever, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I looked all around me to take in the sights of the other runners, the hovering choppers, the Bay and most importantly, the skyline.  Today would be a great day.  I hoped for a PR (breaking 4 hours), but I knew, as I was often reminded, that NYC — my goal — needed to be enjoyed, not rushed (I had received a text the night before with the following advice: "Make sure you take a minute to enjoy it and not just worry about time.  Once in a lifetime.").  Carry on.

My new found female friend hung with me for a little.  She informed me after the crest of the bridge, that we'd be met shortly by a wall of sound upon entering Brooklyn.  I got excited and then sensed doom.  With all due respect, I had to shake this girl.  I didn't want to chat like a bunch of bitches.  I needed to be alone among 50,000 runners and 1 million spectators.  Soon enough I forgot that thought when we hit the bridge's exit ramp.  Hellllloooo, Brooklyn!!!

I lost chickie at the second water stop.

I believe I had a smile on my face with each step forward.  I enjoyed the crowds and bands, but didn't allow them to get in my head.  I kept focus on my breathing, deep diaphragmatic inhale through the nose for 2 counts and one short, yet forceful exhale through my mouth.  Occasionally, the cheers would distract me throwing off my breath, but I quickly regained control.  I glanced at my watch as I crossed the 10K checkpoint.  Pace good, nice and steady.  At each checkpoint, my thoughts shifted to my crazies, my family, my friends and all the other wackos tracking me on this blustery Sunday morning.  I threw my hands towards the mat before sending them back up in the air.  I envisioned sending them my energy while receiving theirs.

Damn.  We covered a lot of miles in Brooklyn making Queens feel like a blip on the radar.  It wasn't until we crawled across the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge) into Manhattan that shit got real crazy.  THE.SPECTATORS.WERE.CRAZY.  I read many things about this section of the race - First Avenue.  The near deafening sounds of this 3 1/2 mile slight climb into the Bronx could break a runner.  The excitement of the fans has the potential to distract a runner enough that they pick up their pace just before crashing into a wall.  I pulled back, keeping myself in check.  I glanced at my watch.  Pace steady; I was on target to break four hours.  I began to strategize the rest of the course.  I planned to increase my pace with 10K left, only to kick it up once more for the final 5K.  If I was going to really shoot for this, I didn't want to get by.  I would have liked a few extra minutes to play with.

I felt awesome at mile 20, just over the Willis Avenue Bridge entering the Bronx.  The course rounded a corner occupied by a live band performing Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".  For most people this song doesn't mean much; but it meant the world to me.  I thought of my Dad when I set foot in the Bronx.  He attended Fordham.  I also know him as the biggest Dylan fan.  Everything was aligning.  With a little over 4 miles to go, I reentered Manhattan via the Madison Avenue Bridge.  I broke through that wall of sound while choking back the smell of vomit.  The slight downhill of the road allowed me to see the tops of thousands of bobbing heads in front of me.  The view worried me, as it appeared I had more miles to go.

We ran south on Fifth Avenue, parallel to Central Park for over a mile until we hung a right into the park.  The crowds at least 10 people deep on each side went nuts.  The end was near, but the park felt hilly.  I glanced at my watch.  I successfully maintained a steady pace; I could feel a PR in my future, but I couldn't lose it now.  I picked up the pace pressing on towards the finish.  After mile 25, we exited the park onto Central Park South only to swing around back into the park.  Leading up to mile 26 the edges of the course were lined with international flags.  I noticed the whipping wind waving the flags furiously.  I thought that the remaining point two was uphill but nothing mattered.  I mustered up enough kick to cross the finish line in 3:56:51.  I did it.

Success!

For the sake of the audience, I'll refrain from sharing the post finish details like walking a mile to get my checked bag, asking a volunteer to bend down and tie my shoes, or even the story of meeting a guy from D.C. (I actually got his name - Matt) who does long form improv.  I won't share the emotionally torturous 1 mile walk south to meet up with the hubbs at the family reunion area.

Bliss
What mattered is that I was able to accomplish a six year dream by working hard and getting all the support from you, my biggest fans.  Thank you.

For the record, I loved it all.  And I will do it again.
Oh, and I never did remove the thermal shirt.





Friday, November 7, 2014

Mission Marathon

At the end of June, the family traveled to OBX for a lovely week with friends to celebrate life, each other and the beauty of the East coast, my paradise.  Vacation Monday kicked off my marathon training.  My weekly mileage had been at a steady 20-25, so the foundation was already there.  I last trained for a marathon in 2012, missing my personal goal of finishing in under 4 hours.  I struggled with training as I did all my runs solo and split most of those between the dreadmill and the road.  My 20 mile run was half 'mill and half road.  Talk about killer.  This time would be different: I was stronger, I was lighter, I was smarter and I was absolutely healthier.  I had a great support system of just-as-crazy women runners who could join me on most if not all of my runs.  The hubbs understood the level of commitment; he was on board to support me to the fullest.  Everything was staged for success.

On Saturday, October 25th, I logged my last double-digit run.  The following week leading up to race day (Sunday, November 2nd) would be my taper.  Normally, runners dread the taper; I think paranoia can set in along with pre-race jitters.  I welcomed this break by incorporating more yoga and rolling, getting a massage and making creative, yet smart, meals to increase my carb loading.  I don't eat a lot of carbs to begin with in light of my gluten/grain challenges.  I slowly incorporated rice into a few dishes and ate a daily breakfast of quinoa mixed with applesauce, honey and cinnamon.  Delish!  I scheduled vacation days for October 31st and November 3rd.  I needed the Friday before the race to get more organized around my packing (for both myself and the girls who would be spending the weekend at my parents') and the afternoon was peppered with a number of Halloween activities, parades and the eventual Trick-Or-Treat.  
My Favorite Ladybugs
The girls were more than excited to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa.  They had begun packing five days prior — packing which including all the 'essentials' except for their clothing.  Marcus and I dropped them off mid-morning on the 1st, we grabbed a bite to eat and hopped the bus to New York City.  The ride, uneventful, took us to the Port Authority which was a few short blocks from the race expo.  With so much excitement inside, I walked briskly, with Marcus trailing behind, in the direction of the Javits Center to pick up my race packet.  

Cue the Chills
I took the above picture from the top of a bank of escalators leading to the entrance of the expo.  We entered the center from another angle, thankfully, which allowed us to avoid some of the earlier crowds.  Thank goodness for that.  Before walking across the threshold, I dropped my largely awkward backpack in search of my race registration.  This form, along with my ID would be presented to a lovely woman in return for my bib (number 27657).  I waited in another short line to pick up my shirt.  Done.  I wanted to putz around the expo, but everything was so overwhelming - the people, the merchandise, the buzz - I preferred to go eat lunch instead.  Just as I started to flee for the nearest exit, my eye caught the Runner's World spot.  I needed to stop by for a selfie with Bart.  

Two Cuties
After snapping this beauty, Bart and I briefly talked about the Lehigh Valley as David Wiley (Editor-in-Chief) listened.  David and I exchange introductions (I found it charming that he told me he was the Editor...OF COURSE I knew that) and he gave me a piece of advice that I held onto: "It sounds cliche, but don't go out too fast.  It's easy to do."  Point well taken.  I typically go out too fast.  I hoisted my awkwardly large pack over my shoulders, exchanging pleasantries on my way out.  


To the Five Boroughs

Hubbers and I met my brother Matt at a lovely Thai restaurant for a late lunch.  We spent over an hour eating and chatting.  The brief interruption in the marathon madness helped calm my nerves and relax my body.  Initially, I worried that my cuisine choice could adversely affect my race, but I reminded myself that I don't really have any challenges with digestion as long as I stay away from gluten.  I carried on.  

Following lunch, Marcus and I hailed a cab headed to downtown Manhattan's Marriott.  At check-in, the representative asked me if I was running the marathon.  With smiles, I answered, 'yes, I am!'  He gave me a stern look, took a deep breath and responded with, 'good luck.'  Everyone had been talking about marathon day weather.  Originally the forecast was set to be sunny with a high in the low 50's.  As the day approached, rain was introduced as a factor, until the meteorologists got their acts together and settled on a cold and windy day.  Crap.  Well, I couldn't let this bring me down.  I worked my ass off to get here.  Nothing would stop me.  We settled into the room and prepared to check out the 9/11 memorial, two blocks from our hotel.  The rain seemed to let up for our walk.  I had not been on that block in years - My!  What a beautiful and chilling sight.  

Around the corner from the World Trade Center block, we passed a memorial along side the FDNY Ladder 10 Company 10 house.  The bronze wall covering honors the firefighters "who fell and to those who carry on."  

"Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on."
The names of the fallen FDNY heroes line the bottom of the panel.  I walked slowly, scanning the names for someone recognizable until I found him.  I ran my fingers over the impression of Michael Cammarata.  "While others were running out, you were running in..."  RIP.

South Tower Reflecting Pool

North Tower Reflecting Pool

One World Trade Center
The sounds of the reflecting pools stifled the city rumbles.  We didn't spend a lot of time observing as the nasty weather begin to reappear and, like clockwork, I needed to eat.  I took a deep, cleansing breath and moved on.  Eventually, we made it to the Shake Shack.  In the words of Rachael Ray: Yum-O!  A tasty burger with tasty fries was exactly what my body craved.  We ate our meals in silence while eavesdropping on the ridiculous argument that had erupted between the couple next to us.  Ahhh, New York!  After dinner, we crossed the street to pick up snacks and drinks at a corner store.  The wind and rain forced us to put a little pep in our step.  We were thankful to be in the warm and dry hotel lobby.  
Before taking a hot shower, I unpacked my race gear and lined everything up.  

Race Day Outfit
In the most loving way possible, the hubbs asked me if my morning plan would be to fall flat on the floor before walking out the door.  I took comfort in having everything laid out.  That was one less thing for me to worry about.  I had packed throw away clothes that would be my warm layers pre-race.  I planned to ditch them at the start line.  

Testing out my hideous layers earlier in the week
During my taper week, the hubbs and I ran into Goodwill to scour the racks for throw away layers.  Thank God, I found this hideous sweatshirt (love the collar) that would complement a kid's pair of fleece pants (lilac works well with red).  I planned to zip that collar high; ya know, the forecast called for high winds.  Yay.  The surprise companion to this glamorous get up was a kid's long sleeved thermal shirt with a pattern of delicate flowers.  Surely, I'd be hit on, maybe be fortunate enough to get a few phone numbers. 

Stunning
Back to the story...
I dried my hair and changed following a near-scalding hot shower.  I did a few stretches before massaging my legs and slipping into my pajamas.  Perhaps, it was for good luck, but I slept in the fabulous thermal shirt.  Maybe I secretly liked the pattern.  Maybe this is foreshadowing.  

I set two alarms, feeling confident that I didn't need a wake-up call on Daylight Savings Time.  My scheduled time for the Staten Island Ferry was at 7:15 am.  My plan was to walk out the door by 6:30 am.  I passed out as my head hit the pillow; I was exhausted.  


I happened to wake up before my alarms went off.
Ready.
Set.
...






Sunday, October 26, 2014

An Open Letter to My Crazies

As you can tell, I believe in the power of words.  Oftentimes, my verbal delivery doesn't quite pack enough emotion or truth in what I write.  It's easier for me to take the time, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to share my thoughts.  Letters, for me, go way back.  I had a few pen pals when I was younger, from Girl Scout coordinated pairings or new friendships established during a family vacation.  I was the honored recipient of a few beautiful letters — two, that I recall, from my Dad and one from my fiancĂ© (the night before our wedding).  In the day of computers, we've gotten away from this level of personal interaction, but on the other hand, we've been given a stage to proclaim our message to the masses.  Today, I will do just that.
In my adult life I have never been supported by so many crazy women glued together by one thing — running.  As our relationships developed, we discovered a lot more commonalities with our parenting, worldly views, and the solace in good running clothes. Our time together, ordinarily running, brought out raw emotions — the ideal situation for bonding.  We learned our likes and dislikes; our adult beverages of choice and dietary pickiness.  We commiserated over a shitty hill and rejoiced in seeing each other accomplish wonderful feats of fitness.  We symbolically ran arm in arm through months of training runs - long and short; good and bad.
In one week, I will be running the New York City Marathon.  I trained more (and smarter) than I ever have in my life.  I am confident in myself that I could have done this on my own; however, I would not have made it this far with as much grace - I share this experience with you.  I'll be running the race with 50,000 people in the running community, but I'll be physically on my own.  Mentally and emotionally, you ladies will be on my mind and in my heart.
Thank you for believing in me.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Rewiring Dreams

I've been called an old lady by some of my charming friends because of my early bedtime.  Sometimes, I'll hit the pillow as early at 8 pm; sometimes I'll make a valiant effort to stay up after putting the kids to bed, but that just results in me passing out on the couch 30 minutes later.  Before kids I would pass out on people's couches, or even worse, I'd put my head down on the bar, or on the table to take a quick snooze.  My body knows when a hard reset is required; nothing can stop it.

I normally don't have trouble falling asleep and I slip into a very restful evening of paralysis; Oh and dreaming.  I usually have vivid dreams that I remember in detail.  Some of these dreams have had such an impact that they cannot be erased.  I could dazzle you with the story of my one childhood recurring dream or my accounts of lead singers falling in love with me.  I could also tell you the countless times in which I've tried to run without success.  Whether I was running in a race or away from an assailant, I can't seem to move myself forward.  In most cases, I feel as if I'm trying to run through a chest high tub of quicksand - I'm moving nowhere fast.  I exert so much energy trying to propel myself forward that I get exhausted and need to quit.  This is such a frustrating situation; sometimes it's a terrifying if I can't get away from the 'bad guy'.  Over the years, I somehow educated my dream self that if I turned around I could successfully run with a lot more mobility.  Sure, I was running backward, but I made progress.

I read that slow running in dreams is the reflection of low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.  Okay.  That might be fair in certain situations.  But I changed my direction.  Like one of those dumb kids in the Freddy Kruger movies, I subconsciously figured out how to run facing forward, without being held back.  I moved through the streets, light on my feet and the wind waving through my hair. For the first time in my life I could run fast (facing forward) in my dream.

I need to take a stand and change it up; then I can run free.
Forward Progress

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Six years.
I laced up my first pair of running shoes a little more than six years ago.  That seems like such a long time from today.  I've told this story a thousand times - I needed to lose the baby weight and get my ass into some sort of gear other than neutral.  Who really knew I'd make it this far?  Certainly not I; I never really believed in myself.
I said before that I might live in Pennsylvania, but my heart is in New York City.  It's been a long while since I really rocked NYC; I spent about (ha) six years of my life on Staten Island and made several hundred trips to the city via the ferry.  I used to know my way around certain parts of the city; I found joy getting lost in others.
About three months post my first run I set a future goal, a lofty goal.  I would run the New York City Marathon.  It took a few years for me to really get behind the idea of running a marathon.
So here I am.
Nine days away from the NYC Marathon.
I feel my face light up when I'm asked about the race.
I'm a little nervous about the logistics of navigating the city for an expo, the start and the eventual finish surrounded by 50,000 participants.  I could explode thinking about the pace needed to hit my goal time and I'm skittish about the weather possibilities (please don't be bitter cold, please don't be bitter cold - damn, it's going to suck going over those bridges if it's windy).

But, again, here I am, with a giant smile on my face counting down the days until I'm back in the city kicking ass and taking names.