That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Body transformation is possible at Physique 57!

Okay, so I feel like an infomercial, but I can't believe how amazing this studio Physique 57. The physique 57 workout kicks my fairly in shape ass every single time. I spend every minute working at the total limits of my ability. Fortunately, my efforts over the last month totally paid off. I lost 2 inches on my waist and an inch on each leg, plus I have visible arm and ab muscle tone for the first time in years.

It is very hard to explain the workout, just know it kicks your butt every single time...but more importantly it works.

It has taught me that your really need to push yourself to change your body, without challenge there is no change.

So check it out: Physique 57

I first read about it in Fitness Magazine. Kelly Ripa couldn't say enough about it, and I have to admit, she was right!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What this was really about--TNT Milestones and research advances

1988: Bruce Cleland of Westchester County, NY organizes 38 people to run the NYC Marathon while raising money for research to honor his daughter, a leukemia patient. The group (called Team in Training) raises $320,000.

1989: A team of people from LI, Westchester and NJ participate in the NYC marathon.

By 1993 there are 20 chapters.

1996: Race walking is added

1997: The Century Ride is added

1999: The Triathlon is added

2004: The Society and Nike launch the Nike Women's Marathon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It raises $10 million.

2007: Since TNT's inception, 340,000 people have raised over $800 million to support blood caner research and patient services.

1987: $6.4 million in research grans awarded, cumulative total $50 million
2007: 64.7 million in research grans awarded, cumulative total $550 million

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia:
1987: Five year survival rate was less than 55%
2007: Five year survival rate with high quality of life is 95%

1987: Survival rate: 12%
2007: Survival rate about 36% (but still so far to go!)

Financial aid provided to patients
1987: 5,500 patients
2007: 16, 958

Family support:
1987: Groups available in 14 chapters with 1,500 patients and family members served
2007: Groups available in 68 chapters with 9,500 patients and family members served

One week later: reflections, confessions, and what the future holds

It is officially one week since the marathon, and recovering was perhaps the most exciting variable of the entire season. I was fairly confident I would finish, but what would happen after I crawled, walked or ran across the line was completely up in the air.

Would I be in unbelievable pain?
Would I ever want to run again? For a lot of the season, the answer was no.
Would I have to wait weeks to exercise again?

Well after running/jogging across the line, I wasn’t in any pain. I was fine. I was more devastated that the TNT season was over than anything else. It has become such a big part of my life and I love my friends! So physically I was fine, emotionally, a bit disturbed.

Around mile 19, I realized I was running a marathon and really enjoying it. The feelings and realization are hard to describe. But I knew I would run another race in the not too distant future--definitely by NYC 2009, maybe 2008 if I can get it.

The first days after the race I was sore. I moved fairly slowly, definitely didn’t do much extra walking, and took to walking backward down the stairs to alleviate the pain my quads felt when going down steps.

On Wednesday I got a massage at Ohm Spa. It was fabulous, and, like magic, on Thursday, I had zero pain and did a mini workout. Today I am 100% recovered I have done a few workout videos and a decent amount of walking, and feel totally ready to workout normally and run again. I am looking forward to enjoying my old favorite workouts, spinning, dance classes and Pilates for a while, before jumping backing into training.

Now for the confessions

I did not run as much as I should have during training. I never got to the point where I enjoyed running on my own, so many weeks I only ran the Tuesday and Saturday practices and cross-trained the other days.

In hindsight this hindered my performance because I never built up my running speed. During my next training season I will run at least 4 times a week, and do more speed work. My endurance was there, but I should have done more running.

Now that I have accomplished my goal of completing a marathon, I want to work toward a better time, maybe even qualifying for Boston…now there is a feat!

Maybe I will resume this blog when I start training for my next race, or maybe I will drop a line when the relevant occasion arises. In any case, I hope someone finds this helpful.


You may not think that you could ever run two miles, let alone a marathon. But I am here to tell you, you can! Did you hear that? YOU CAN RUN A MARATHON!

I signed on for TNT mainly because I was a horrendous runner. My initial goal was to actually be able to run 6 miles and think nothing of it. I really just wanted to see if I could actually run a marathon, and I had heard over and over that TNT was marathon training for dummies.

I can’t even tell you how effortless it was. The coaches were amazing, guiding you every step of the way through running, hills, cross training, speed, injury prevention, nutrition, fundraising, having fun, and so much more.

The initial few weeks were the most challenging. My first 8 mile run was far harder than my first 18 mile run.

Having a cause, like the LLS, made all the difference. You could always think of how much of difference you were making and how much harder it must be to struggle with cancer.

Besides the knowledge that I can actually run really far, I made some amazing friends, had some unbelievable moments of clarity and insight into my life goals—not earthshaking, but incredible nonetheless, and I am now committed to the LLS and finding the cure!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Really off --the race!

The race started really well, we ran through the financial district quickly enjoying a bright pink sky. San Francisco is one of the prettiest places you could hope to race, so I felt such a feeling of joy, contentment, and blessing. Once we were out of the downtown area, we had stunning views of the water and the beautiful sunrise.

We were unbelievably lucky to have one of the very rare fogless mornings in the city. Seriously, we were told that Alcatraz and The Golden Gate Bridge would be invisible so early in the morning, but there they were in full view.

The bag check came up before we knew it. At this point I was still running with friends, and we all had to find a portapotty. So right before mile 3 we stopped. Unfortunately the line was not moving at all. I could only imagine what could possibly be occurring in them, if people running a marathon would sacrifice so much time. So in what was not my proudest moment, I decided to pee on the beach. I was a good distance from the road, so it was relatively private, aside from the long line of racers watching me as they waited for the portapotty.

Then I was off with my friends again, we ran up our first hill in strong, short strides, and as instructed, ran carefully down the hill. At about mile 6 the second hill emerged, and we continued running, slowly and steadily. The hill itself really didn't bother me, I had plenty of practice. It was steep and winding, but there were enough coaches and cheerers to keep my mind off it. Once it was over it leveled out for a bit and I just kept taking in the beautiful scenery. California is so beautiful in that it has big trees and ocean side by side. We were pretty far up hill running along pretty houses.

I really got lucky on race day because I felt amazing from my first stride. It ussually takes miles for me to start enjoying the run or at least tolerating it, but race day was just a totally enjoyable run. I felt no pressure to run fast, although I was not happy that they didn't have clocks at every mile. It really made it hard to judge your pace. Water was also ever other mile, which really isn't enough in warm weather. But I kept on going. I met my coach around mile 6 and he pumped me up for the last hill. I felt like Puff Daddy with a person coach running by my side.

At mile 9 we approached the mile long hill, the final big hill of the race. It was a climb and flatten, climb and flatten kind of hill that made you wonder whether you were at the top or had just begun, but I mounted it and started downhill. The downhill we had been warned about several times. It was steep and windy, which makes it very hard on the knees and quads. Racing downhill to fast guarantees you will have serious soreness problems in the second half of the race. So I did my best to keep the short strides going.

My breath was taken away by the views of the water rushing on to the beach and the perfect pink, purple and blue sky. I often forgot I was even running, but the downhill was actually much harder physically than the uphill. My quads started to get a bit sore, and I was actually hoping for the downhill to end. I swear I am not lying.

I saw another coach at the end of the downhill and she gave me tips to change my stride to relax my quads. A few feet later, I had another coach running by my side, she told me I looked great. I was practically floating at this point. I was around mile 11 when someone shouted my name--first and last. BTW, we write our names on our shirts, so people can cheer for us!
So it was great to run with a friend for a mile or so. She turned off to finish the half (she has the NYC full coming up) and I kept on the full path. The paths were poorly marked, so I actually asked a few people whether I was on the full path, just in case!

We were now entering Golden Gate State Park. It was basically just running through the woods, not too exciting. There was an oxygen bar and socks and pedicures to partake in, but I could imagine my coach killing me if I stopped. So I chugged on eating gels, drinking 2 cups of water at every stop and grabbing Vaseline when needed. It is amazing what you can do while running. Around the I decided to put on my ipod to get a lift and distract myself for a while. I often forgot it was on because I was so busy taking in what was going on around me. At mile 15 there was this awesome nike tunnel tent. I got an incredible rush and started running pretty fast. I kept this up until I saw my coaches at around mile 17, I was told to just keep doing what I was doing, and I would see them at the finish line. I took more nutrition and took a very quick portapotty and stretch break and just kept running. I did a salt shot at mile 18, I forgot to mention we did a team salt shot at the start.

Sometime around here I realized that I was actually running a marathon. It was kind of crazy. But it felt so surreal.
I was now running along Lake Merced it was a nice lake, but very long. There weren't a lot of people cheering and the ground was very slanted, so it was hard on the legs and I kept trying to find the flattest patches of road. The route around the lake stretched on, but at least it had some hills to give my quads a break. I can't believe I actually appreciated hills. My coaches ran with me, gearing me up for the mental battle that would lie ahead in the last few miles. At mile 22 I was pretty bored of running. I was ready to be done, it was getting hot, I couldn't drink enough water if I tried. The salt helps you retain water, but the water stations were over two miles apart.

At mile 23 I was surprised how good I felt physically, I hadn't had to walk much, except a few times to get water or take tylenol. But not more than 10-15 seconds.

The last 3.5 miles are a straight stretch along the water to the finish. By mile 24 I was really dying to see the finish line. At mile 25 I was a bit incoherent. I couldn't distract myself or concentrate on form. Even though the views of the sunlight bouncing off the water was stunning. I turned off my ipod. I started walking quite a bit. I thought I would never see mile 26! And I didn't because mile 26 wasn't marked. I finally saw my coach who ran me in ringing the cow bell madly. It felt great to see the finish. I waved to the TNT team cheering me on. I kept going through the finish line. Proudly claiming my Tiffany's necklace, shirt and bagel.

A lot of emotions were occurring. I was shocked I had finished with little to no pain. I actually had a lot of energy. I picked up all the little things they hand you, luna bars, lip balm, bananas. I went into the TNT tent to check out. I checked out the powder room with towels and facial clothes, lotions and refreshers. I passed the massage tents. I then hiked over to the buses to pick up my stuff. While enjoying the best bagel of my entire life, I headed back to the TNT cheering session.

I cheered teammates on for a while, then I headed back to the buses with my friend. After days of eating lots of food, my stomach was suddenly beckoning for my attention. Thank you for waiting tummy, I appreciate you allowing me to run before raging war.

At the hotel I promptly passed out for an hour, I ate a mini luna bar and took a shower.

I then decided to use my last few hours in SF to walk around and try to find gifts for friends and family. Yup I could still walk.

At 6:00 we headed to the victory party for all 5,000 TNTers. The food was really bad, but whatever. We partied on the dance floor. Songs ranged from the twist to baby got back. the the TNT NYC chapter took the never ending walk to the misbehaving party.

What a way to end the day.

And we're off--almost

So at 2:30, I am wide-awake just dying to get the show on the road. Actually, when I woke up I thought I had already run the race. I was so psyched to be done, then reality set in. So I tried to sleep until 4am when the alarm went off. Then our wake up calls at 4:00 and 4:10, I should know by now that I never sleep when I am a nervous/excited.

So my roomate and I got dressed. I hadn't bought body glide (for anyone who doesn't know, it's basically lubrication to prevent chaffing), so I decided to load up on lotion in the appropriate places. I pinned on my bib. I put on a sweatshirt and a throw away long sleeve tee. We had breakfast at 4:30, we went downstairs to the cash and carry, and shockingly there was NO line. We had to finish eating by 5am, so I couldn't figure out where the hundreds of runners in the hotel could be. So I grabbed a green tea, fruit salad and a banana to go with my granola bar. For the record, it is probably one of the most expensive bananas in the country, $2. I could get 10 in NYC for that. I hope it was organic. So I ate my fruit, letting it digest for a few minutes before eating my granola bar, the .25 little debbie kind that have lots of honey goodness, but no fiber, protien or nutrients to slow digestion.

By the time we left the cash and carry had a huge line. We met our team in the lobby and headed for union square. Finding bag check was tricky. Finally we found it, I handed my bag to window D of school bus 15, so I could have it delivered to the finish area. I put on my garbage bag to stay warm. It was cold, windy and dark at 5:40ish. we went to the bathrooms and headed for the starting line.
(my butt, literally in gear!)
This marathon isn't for super serious runners, so we lined up right behind the elite runners, inches from the starting ribbon. It was crazy. Coincidently, we were right next to Tiffany & Co., our sponsor.

It seemed a little bizarre and self-righteous, but the pace groups were from 6-9 minutes, so it wasn't terribly unrealistic.

By 6:20 we all had to use the bathroom again, but there was no way out, so we had to focus on the energetic woman leading us in an aerobic warm-up/workout. Are squats a good idea before running a marathon? Seriously, the warm up was more intense than the average person's workout at Bally's. It did help time move along.

Finally the elite runners were off. 20 minutes later we were off!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The day before

We all woke up for a 25 minute run the day before the race. Ramon whistled from the second floor balcony to get our attention in the lobby. We got to run through a bit of the city, pretty much taking over the wide side walks, as NYCers like to dominate. Then we went over the race plan again, Ramon detailed every hill, how to prepare, deal with the weather at hand, and basically rock.

We stretched and then had the day to ourselves.

I had lunch with my cousin and got to see the Embarqudero Farmers Market.

At three o├žlock we met for a dedication and singlet decorating ceremony. Very moving. After that we headed to the pasta party to hear speeches of surviors and families. In order to avoid the pasta being served to 8,000 people, we headed up to North Beach to test out Sand Fran's Little Italy. We found a restuarant with los of character and had a relaxing meal, and then headed in early to rest up. We had to be up by 4:30!

So I get back to the hotel, get all my thing in perfect order for the morning. Fill my race ready shorts with nutrition, pack my race bag, take my ibuprofen, prepare my Tylenol and salt packets for the next day, drink gallons of water, schedule the 4 am wake up call, yadda yadda yadda.

At 8:50 there is a lot of noise going on outside our room. I put in ear plugs and try to ignore it. Umm does anyone else have a marathon tomorrow? From the smell of the elevator, I am pretty sure that answer is yes.

So at 9:30, I go into the hall way, expected to find a frat party going on, and there are 50 people from another chapter being exceedingly rude. Umm, please reserve a private space to have your prep party, not the hotel hallways! I know that NYC is way more serious, well-trained and focused than other teams, but this is crazy folks. Feeling like a 50 year old school teacher, I asked them to settle down. 15 minutes later I called hotel security. 5 minutes later...silence!

To be continued.

Leaving on a jet plane

So I arrive at the airport, kind of forgetting that the time the plane takes off it not the time you leave, so when the self-service check in refused to print my boarding pass, personal panic ensued. I managed to convince an attendant to let me jump ahead of all the people in the line to Cancun in order to get through security, on the plane and to my marathon.

The plane ride was fairly average except for the fact that they had no food and it was a six hour flight. whatever. not a peanut or pretzel in sight.

So we arrive and San Fran is sunny and beautiful. Probably the most amazing shopping mecca I have ever encountered. Like every major shopping area in NYC converged in one convenient location--minus the cute independent and designer boutiques. But gorgeous and clean nonetheless. God, I feel like I am cheating on my city.

So we check into a stunning grand Hyatt, just steps away from the race expo and starting line in Union Square. Could I be any luckier? My bed was definitely something to write home about. I just melted into the comforter and the million pillow---too bad I don't use a pillow.

But I only sat down for a second...I had a brand new city to explore, take in and, potentially, fall in love with.

At the expo I got my bib and shoe chip, looked around, found my name on the Niketown wall and walked around for a while.

I chatted with some friends, but the jet lag set in and the rain started coming down. This was a great opportunity to go to Niketown, where the 100 foot line to get in the door disappeared when a the rain started. I bought my horrendously overpriced marathon sweatshirt, claiming my victorious finish prematurely, picked up a book at Borders, grabbed takeout at a sushi bar and headed back to the hotel.

Count down

Preparing the week before the marathon involved a lot of running related activity, but not a whole lot of actual running.

On Tuesday we had our last team practice, a pretty hard forty minute run.

After that we had a light run on Thursday and lots of gentle stretching throughout the week.

Drinking gallons and gallons of water, eating lots of salt--yay, avoiding caffeine and fiber.

But boy did I have a lot to do to get everything together to leave for San Fran on Friday.

I had to make my millionth trip to Jack Rabbit to buy race ready shorts and a few more power gels. I was disappointed they only had spandex (eeek!) race ready shorts. But they uber helpful sales guy convinced me that I could pull them off. I tried them on, and I decided it was really my only choice, I was leaving in one day, so I couldn't order online. Race ready shorts have lots of handy pockets to tuck gels, food, keys, and ipods into.

I also needed some gels, unfortunately they didn't have my fav, double latte powergels, so I had to buy the expresso love gus. This went strictly against the don't try anything new on race day rule, ooops.

I also grabbed some organic clif shot blocks in cran-raspberry--for variety.

I also picked up a three pack of socks.

Then I was off to pick up the essential I love NY tee and Statue of Liberty crown.

So I walked up to 34th and wow I love NY tees only cost $1! What a bargain. I can't believe I bought an I love ny tee or a statue of liberty crown for that matter, but I guess we have to represent our city out there!

As I continued walking I noticed a city sports on 5th, and low and behold they had double latte--let us rejoice!

I hoped on the subway to pack, pack and clean clean before leaving in the morning!

Items needed included: band-aids, travel size toiletries, a garbage bag to stay warm at the race line, shoes x2, socks, ipod--with playlist revised for maximum whoop ass, Tylenol 8 hour, ibuprofen, resealable plastic bag to get past airport security, bag to take to the race, plane tickets, wrist bands, pasta and victory party tickets, singlet, nutrition, visor and sunblock. My bag was actually pretty light.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why The Nike Marathon is the best marathon ever!

Besides the fact that we get the amazing views of the bay area, we get a ton of fabulous perks.

Jamba Juice-mile .5
coat check-mile 2.5
entertainment--all over the freakin place
Goody hair stuff-mile 3.5
MUSIC-mile 5,6, 9,10, 16, 17,21,22, 23
oxygen bar--mile 6--how frou frou!
luna bars--miles 9 and 21
luna moon--mile 9, 18, 24
photo ops--miles 7.3--smile
bananas--mile 11
ghirardelli chocolate--mile 11.9--good thing we will be burning lots of cals!
nike plus tunnel (massages)--mile 15
bear naked granola--mile 13.5
pedi-care--mile 13.6
TNT cheering stations, 4,6,9,10, 18, 23, 26
Tiffany's Necklace at the finish line!

Post race massages and pedis!

Why the NYC Chapter of TNT is the best one EVER!

Let me count the ways:

We have hands down the best coaches EVER!

We have done more hills in prep for San Fran than any other team in the country

We hail from the best city on the planet

We are the largest team in the Nike Women's marathon. Out of the 15,000 runners, 7,000 will be TNTers. 220 NYC TNTers.

Our chapter has raised over 830,000! The largest amount of any team in philanthrophy history for an endurance event.

We don't crash after the marathon, we keep it going with back to back misbehaving parties!

Enough said.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Long time no blog

I'm back. We have officially started tapering, so runs are getting pretty darn short. As I get more and more excited about the race, San Fran and the misbehaving after party, I can't help but take a minute to send share my thoughts about what happened at the Chicago marathon this year.

If you didn't know it was incredible hot at the marathon in Chicago this year, high 80's and not enough water. So 300 people went to the hospital and they ended up closing the race early. I can imagine working so hard to train for a marathon and then having it end so disappointingly. But fortunately, our coaches have decided to let the Chitown runners keep training for the Philly marathon if they would like to.

I ran the Norwegian half marathon last weekend, and it was so incredibly painful! I didn't correlate it to the heat at the time, but I am praying that was the problem.

So at any rate, I am on strict orders not to workout this week--save for a few 30 minute runs and light stretching. It will be weird, but definitely nice to have an excuse to skip the workout. I feel as though my post-marathon workouts will be pretty intense, as I didn't really get into shape training. Shocking as it may be. Obviously, I have great endurance, but no definition or anything.

So anyways, in leui of working out I have a lot to do to get ready for this marathon:

Buy a I love NY t-shirt and statue of liberty crown to wear to the TNT party. TNT teams around the country get together before the race. NYC is the largest team--over 200, but thousands of people will be at the party and we have to represent.

I also need race ready shorts and perhaps some running tights, as it has been so cold lately. Hello Autumn so glad you decided to join us!

Batteries for my camera--this is not going to go undocumented!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fast Facts-New York needs to catch up

New Yorkers may be the fastest walkers in the US, but not in the world. I was kind of disappointed to learn that we are number 8. However, the I think (not 100% sure) the study excluded people wearing ipods, and that is a lot of New Yorkers. Lord knows I walk much faster with my ipod on.

May 4, 2007, 12:40 pm
The 8th Fastest Walkers in the World
By Anthony Ramirez
For most out-of-towners fond of a porch swing, a beach blanket or a wandering Sunday stroll, the phrase “New York Minute” has come to mean a peculiarly local delirium of impatience that results in the shrinking of time itself.Moreover, the natives take unembarrassed pride in it.
What then to make of a vertiginous study out of England earlier this week that seems to say that New Yorkers are not all that?

Positing that walking is a physical measure of urban frenzy, a University of Hertfordshire researcher released a study that found that New Yorkers ranked far down on a list of quick-steppers around the world.

In a sample of 32 cities, New York ranked 8th.

Its residents, on average, took 12 seconds to cover 60 feet, or some 3.4 miles per hour. (Michael Johnson’s world record for the 200-meter dash is equivalent to 23 miles per hour.)
But, in what some are taking as a blow to hometown pride, the Hertfordshire study of “the pace of life” found that the residents of Berlin; Curitiba (a city of 3 million in Brazil); Dublin; Guangzhou (formerly Canton, a city of 6 million in China); Madrid; and Copenhagen all out-hustled New York.

And the fastest walking city? Singapore, with a population of 4.5 million, was clocked at 3.9 miles per hour, some 15 percent faster than New Yorkers.

In the walking study, researchers in cities around the world observed walkers on Aug. 22, 2006 between the hours of 11:30 am and 2:00 pm local time.
With a stopwatch, they recorded the time it took 35 men and women to walk along a 60 foot stretch of pavement. They left out people carrying packages or luggage, walking with other people or talking on cellphones.

By comparing the results to those in a similar 1994 experiment by Robert Levine, a psychology professor at California State University, Fresno, Mr. Wiseman concluded that the pace of urban life, as measured by walking, had increased 10 percent.

Professor Wiseman noted in an e-mail interview that the New York walking speed had stayed flat over the years — 12 seconds in 2006 compared with 12.03 seconds on 1994 — but other cities had quickened their tempo.

“It is the huge increase in the other countries as they have caught up and, in some cases, overtaken” New York that accounts for the rankings, Mr. Wiseman wrote.

For the record, the slowest walking city is Blantyre in Malawi, in southern Africa, at the escargot pace of one-fifth of a mile per hour.

Here’s the full list (courtesy of ITV):
1) Singapore (Singapore); 10.55 seconds
2) Copenhagen (Denmark); 10.82
3) Madrid (Spain); 10.89
4) Guangzhou (China): 10.94
5) Dublin (Ireland); 11.03
6) Curitiba (Brazil); 11.13
7) Berlin (Germany); 11.16
8) New York (US); 12.00
9) Utrecht (Netherlands); 12.04
10) Vienna (Austria); 12.06
11) Warsaw (Poland); 12.07
12) London (United Kingdom); 12.17
13) Zagreb (Croatia); 12.20
14) Prague (Czech Republic); 12.35
15) Wellington (New Zealand); 12.62
16) Paris (France); 12.65
17) Stockholm (Sweden); 12.75
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia); 12.76
19) Tokyo (Japan); 12.83
20) Ottawa (Canada); 13.72
21) Harare (Zimbabwe); 13.92
22) Sofia (Bulgaria); 13.96
23) Taipei (Taiwan): 14.00
24) Cairo (Egypt); 14.18
25) Sana (Yemen); 14.29
26) Bucharest (Romania); 14.36
27) Dubai (United Arab Emirates); 14.64
28) Damascus (Syria); 14.94
29) Amman (Jordan); 15.95
30) Bern (Switzerland); 17.37
31) Manama (Bahrain); 17.69
32) Blantyre (Malawi); 31.60

From NY Times

While I was in Europe I really got a kick out of the exit it signs. They definitely imply more hustle than US exit signs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Queens Grand Prix 1/2 Marathon

Hills! Thank you sir, can I have another?

While I never would have anticipated so many hills on the Queens Grand Prix half, it was certainly a great way to prepare for the San Fran. Some people said it was actually worse than the San Fran, hill wise. However, the elevation charts on beg to differ.

Nevertheless, there was an incredible amount of hills! I woke up at 4:50 to leave for the race. We got there around 6:00, so I had a diet coke in the car to get me ready.

After spending the entire week in complete confidence. I actually felt really nervous all morning. A race is totally different than a practice run. So before I knew it, we were off. About 3,600 of us. And we were racing through a very unscenic suburban area of Queens. Seriously they could have done so much better. The World’s Fair Globe, the Hall of Science, Flushing Meadow Park, Jackson Heights, Shea Stadium…we saw none of it. Just fairly ugly streets with an occasional smattering of mansions.

So anyways, the two miles were by far the worst. I was so unused to running without talking and my without usual running buddies. So I struggled for the first four miles, mostly with whether or not to cave and put on my ipod. By mile 4 and a half, I decided that I better put it on and stop torturing myself, clearly there was no view to enjoy.

The race got much better after that. I actually got the hang of drinking on the run down pretty well. At least I wasn’t choking, soaking, or blinding myself like last time. So that was good.

As far as pace, I kept it pretty slow, around 10 minute miles. This was for a few reasons:

1.) I didn’t know the course, so I didn’t know what to expect
2.) I didn’t want to burn out
3.) There were a ton of hills

But the miles slowly ticked away. I felt strong the whole way. By mile 11 I started to really push myself. A couple of times I thought of missed the mile 12 marker because 11 went on forever, but finally 12 came around, and I picked up the pace even more. However, there were 2 huge hills in mile 12 that slowed me down, but I kept plugging. Hi-fiving little kids along the way.

I waved to the team as I approached mile 13 and then smiled for my parents who were both taking pictures.

After the race we made our way back to the car, which was parked like a mile away. Then four of us squished into the backseat, all nice and sweaty.

However, the day improved with a nice sunny brunch and a great afternoon at the Beer Garden. Go team.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When the going gets tough part 2...turn to quotes

Great quotes that will keep your wussy butt moving!

"Pain is weakness leaving the body"--my fav spinning instructor

"There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have." -Unknown

"Enjoy your pain, you've earned it"

"Man imposes his own limitations, don't set any" -Anthony Bailey

"Some people run to get in shape......we get in shape to run!"

"Some people run to get in shape......we get in shape to run!"

"Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired."

"That that don't kill me, will only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, 'cause I can't wait much longer."

"Nothing feels worse than stopping before you have to." My very own!

When the going gets tough: inspiration, Hills, and more!

It is pretty crazy that I am now excited about having an "easy weekend" only having to run 13 miles. It's the Queen's half marathon. But after 20, I am not too nervous. Besides running lots of miles, we have also been focusing on doing as many hills as possible. My coaches favorite seems to be Cat Hill. We get to run up and down it...over and over.
But it is a pretty exciting jaunt. There is the CP Boat then a weird Cat Sculpture, followed by a strange plane area, views of the back of the Met and Cleopatra's Needle.
I have to say, as scary as hills are, I much prefer them to sprints. At least what goes up, must go down. Yesterdays practice was cross training and sprints, and it was the first practice where my body was in "I give up" mode.
In any case, there are a few options.
-First, if you have a friend or two to talk to you probably won't need help, just make sure you save up a good four hours of conversation
-sort out your life---this one doesn't work for me. I need full concentration to sort, but obviously a lot of people like to clear their heads while running, so if you are one of them, props to you!
-Recall a childhood favorite, such as "The Little Engine that Could."
-Listen to a great song. Lately I have been listening to Stronger by Kayne West on repeat. But see the list on my main page for other ideas.
-Do everything in your power to forget you are running. Examples, think about that great dress on Sale at Club Monaco
or...Try to remember something with intricate details, such every store on 14th Street between 3rd and 6th avenues.
or...take a mental tour of Henri Bendel or Crossgates or substitute your personal shopping house of worship.
or...remember every song on the first Green Day album in order, then mentally sing every word of Basketcase.
-Plot out your domination of the world, and how you will "be the change, you wish to see in the world"
Finally, stock up on a few good quotes. I felt quotes needed their own post, so check it out!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More on exactly who you are helping!

A training update is coming soon. Right now I am in full fundraising mode. But as a preview, I ran 20 miles this weekend! Yeah, in a row.

Here is a great article about Kate Davis, my honored teammate!

(Photo: Isa Wipfli)
KATE DAVIS, 5, was diagnosed with leukemia sixteen months ago. Because the medication has wiped out her immune system, she leaves the house only for doctor’s appointments and weekend trips out of the city, where she can ride her bike outdoors.
When I was 3, I got bruises. Too many. I looked the same, I just had hair. We went to the hospital nearby. And another hospital. Then we found the right one. It’s all kids there. I pray about everyone there who is sick. Sometimes I feel sad that I have cancer, but not angry. I want to go to school. I can’t because there are germs there. But it’s not bad anymore. I don’t have to get a back check. A back check is when you go to the doctor and you have cancer. And you can’t feel anything because you fell asleep! It doesn’t really hurt. Sometimes you wake up angry after—or happy. I wake up happy! But one time I woke up angry—like the Incredible Hulk. Mommy always says, “Are you going to wake up like a princess, not the Incredible Hulk?” And I say, “I’ll try, Mommy, I’ll try, Mommy, I’ll try, Mommy!”

Monday, September 3, 2007

Marathon Shopping

Take the title literally! I have put off buying anything for running until this week, so I had some serious shopping to do. I felt kind of guilty spending any money on personal items for this marathon because I wanted all my money to go toward my fundraising goal, but I knew that I would have to buy new sneakers at some point, and sooner would be better than later.

So with about two months to go, I broke down and bought everything I could possibly need to during the rest of my training and on race day.

I started out a total bargain shopper, Dad you would be so proud, with a $3 TNT race tank and a $1 TNT bracelet at the Connection to the Cause breakfast.

Next I bought something I swore I would never buy. A fuel belt. I always thought they seemed so cheesy and pretentious. Part of the beauty of running is that it is such a no frills sport. I am sad to say, my previous no frills system of training is to be no more.

I was pretty much the only person on the team without a fuel belt. Despite trying to hold out, I was eventually worn down by the popular trend. Kind of like giving into the Crocs phenomenon. In any case, carrying a 20 ounce water bottle and safety pinning power gels to my shorts gets a little old around mile 10.

So here it is, my new bright and shiny Fuel Belt:

I purchased mine at the New Balance Store on 7th Ave and 49th. On a side note, I also snagged a small bag of free M&M's at the M&M store a few blocks down. I guess that's thrifty.

Next I moved on to the most important purchase of all...sneakers! I decided to go to Jack Rabbit, as it is known as the running store in the city. It is on 14th St. between 5th and 6th. I have to say it did not disappoint.

The staff was really friendly. If they can put up with me through indecision, questions, returns, and trying on 7 pairs of shoes, they can handle any customer.

The coolest thing is that they have you run on a treadmill and videotape your stride. I wasn't totally prepared for this, and I happened to be wearing a dress...ooops. In any case, I learned that I run very turned out, so I need a supportive shoe to help prevent injury. That information alone was worth the cost of the shoes. After several runs on the treadmill, I settled on Asics GT 2120s by the way.

The second cool thing about the store is that they have an unparalleled assortment of energy gels, shots and blocks in more flavors and brands than I have seen anywhere else. I stocked up on more than enough to get me through training. I am especially excited about the Margarita Flavors Shot Blocks!

So I hope I have everything I need...and so does my wallet!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Million Dollar Marathon Team

I just found out that the Nike Women's Marathon Team is over halfway to its goal of being the first marathon team to raise $1 million!

For me personally, I am finding the running to be the easy part, the fundraising is the much harder. 26.2 miles is nothing compared to $3,900. Hard? yes, impossible? NO!

My latest fundraising attempt has been to list all my surplus belongings on eBay. At this point, my book shelf is pretty empty, but not too many bidding bites.

Fortunately, my adorable nephew just donated $100! His piggy jar must be looking pretty empty! But he wants to help out kids his age fighting cancer, so they can start school in the fall just like him!

How cute is he?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

One is the loneliest number

I am home this weekend, so I have to do my runs alone! Tear.

Running with the amazing people I have met at TNT helps the miles (14, 15, 16) slip away without so much as a huff or a puff.
Unfortunately, I have become so used to running with other people that I am having trouble doing the solo runs. I guess I am just not the type to be alone with my thoughts and sort out my life while running. I'd rather just talk about reality television.
So, if you hadn't already guessed, I didn't finish the 16 miles I would have run if I stayed in NYC, but I am trying to make up for it by running extra miles each night.

We have been mixing it up a lot at practice: hills runs, getting out of the park and running down the West Side Drive across the Brooklyn Bridge to Prospect Park. I enjoy the change of scenery, but most of all I enjoy the camaraderie we have as a team working toward a common goal. That sounds so cheesy.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Eating on the run!

Running a marathon certainly gives this phrase a new meaning!

I never thought I would eat while working out, but actually, it's counterproductive not to fuel your body on long runs. The probably is, it's not exactly easy to eat while moving. I didn't think this would be a problem, I am a very good eater. However, you have to consider several things:

Carrying the food

Unwrapping it while moving

Not choking

Getting rid of the wrapper/container without littering

The other issue is that your body doesn't really enjoy having to multitask. It is working hard enough to keep you moving forward, adding the extremely energy consuming process of digestion is asking a lot.

That is why it essential to find the most easily digestible sources of energy possible. Which unfortunately seems to mean, carbohydrates highly processed into sugar and chemical filled gels.

There are lots of things, some even contain real fruit puree, but most seem pretty synthetic. The problem with things like dates or 100% fruit leather is the fiber. Fiber while running is not a good idea.

Selecting a gel, Gu, power shot block, sports bean or power bar is kind of fun at first.

At every long run we display what we found, trade a cran raspberry cliff shot block for a blueberry one. Show off the new flavor of Sports Beans made by Jelly Belly.

However, in the end, you just wants something that will give you the boost you need without screwing with your stomach.

My first few runs of more than 6 miles I tried the power gels. The Double Latte flavor gave me a good buzz, and the gel was easy to swallow, but queasiness ensued moments later.

My next experiment was with the Clif Shot blocks (which are supposedly a bit more natural). These immediately reminded me of Shark Fruit Snacks from my childhood. So yummy. We now trade Shot Block Flavors like I traded shark snacks for Gushers in third grade. But they are really big, quite chewy, and again the stomach was not very happy with me.

So this week I tried sports beans made by Jelly Belly. Basically they are massive Jelly Bellies enhanced with a few vitamins and electrolytes. Man they are good, like a perfect 100 calorie movie snack. But as my coach said, I eat the beans because I love eating them, but they don't really give me any energy. I concur. These were probably the worst on my stomach so far.

So here are a few things I am going to try in the future:

Gu gels, which are much better on the stomach than the power ones I hear.

Carb-boom gels, very mild on the tummy and all natural--hard to find

Honey packets stolen from Starbucks--no frills!

I also have to invest in a fuel belt. I have tried to keep it no frills by carrying my water and safety pining my gels to my shorts, but it is time to admit that the pretentious looking belts are hand when you are running for 3 hours!

Here's to Good Eats!

The emotional battle--a must read :)

The mental battle is often discussed in running, but when you are raising money for a society, such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, there is also an emotional component.

After last Saturday’s practice we had Connection to the Cause. It was a mid-season event that allowed us to meet many of our honored teammates that are in remission or battling blood cancer.

It was definitely an emotional experience, but it was amazing to hear just how much of an impact the Team in Training program has on the lives of cancer patients.

The cost of hospital care is outrageous. Parking at a NYC hospital alone is $35 a day. Imagine having two check-ups a week after a bone marrow transplant, as if just getting to the hospital in NYC traffic wasn’t enough!

However, I am happy to say that one of our honored teammates explained that after two years of ineffective chemo, her only option was a bone marrow transplant. Not only is she happy and healthy after years of struggling, but the LLS paid for her entire 27 day hospital stay1

We also met Aiden! One of my honored teammates was diagnosed at age 3 and now at age 6 is 6 months in remission! He stood on stage and said, “My name is Aiden. I had cancer once.”

It was adorable!

One thing I learned is that cancer can occur very unexpectedly. Gretchen was 20 when she was diagnosed, and had no idea she was sick prior to a blood test. Dave, another honored teammate, joked that he knew he had cancer when he no longer had to wait to see the doctor. The doctor was waiting for him!

While obviously it was an emotional day, it was wonderful.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Message from Katie Davis--my five year old honored teammate!

Dear Nike Runners & Walkers,

I wanted to send you a word of thanks and encouragement as you get in to your
loooooooooooooooong runs! I am so excited to be your honored teammate. Let’s see,
since I last talked to you, I turned 5 on July 1st, I had my quarterly checkup and learned I
was still in remission. I have to continue daily chemotherapy but my doctor said he
thinks it will be okay for me to go back to school in the fall! I can’t wait, I would have
been really sad to miss out on kindergarten. This summer I have been learning how to
swim (my twin Olivia got to learn last year but I was way too sick). Today, I lost my first
tooth! I can’t wait to see what’s under my pillow tomorrow morning!

All of these things are possible because of people like you, who are working so hard to
raise money to help find treatments and cures for leukemia. If it wasn’t for all the
progress that has been made, I wouldn’t have the chance to experience any of these
normal “kid” things because I wouldn’t have had the chance to beat this. You’ve given
me the gift of life and the ability to be a pretty healthy 5 year old and for that I can’t
thank you enough! I am so proud that you are a member of my team and I hope that
thinking of me helps to motivate you while you work so hard to get ready for Nike. It’s
going to be great, believe me… I know, this is my second year! My big sister Emma
even crossed the finish line last year with the team – and my whole family can’t wait to
cheer you all the way to the end!

I drew you a picture you can look at whenever you need to be reminded how much I love
and appreciate you for helping kids like me.

Kate Davis

The magic of mission moments

Saturday was my first long run in 3 weeks! So I was pretty nervous to see how my body would take it. My previous long run had been 8 miles, so I was hoping I would find it within me to do 9 miles.

So at 8 am we stood on the terrace, and Coach Ramon pumped us up. In fact, he asked that we run two miles longer than our previous long run. Apparently by now we should have a good base to our running, and tacking on an extra mile shouldn't affect us physically...just mentally.

While getting in a mental mindset for running can be difficult, our mission moment that morning was all it took!

I have had a hard time relating the mission moments in this blog because they are so powerful. However, one of our honored teammates, Dave, just ran the 1/2 marathon only months after a second round of chemo. His grandfather died of blood cancer, his mother battled it and won, and he is still fighting. But I have seen him at every practice!

His mother was in from Florida to see her son run. She is a very small woman, so she stood on the park bench to discuss how much Team in Training meant to her. She said that every year, as a girl, she would watch the Boston Marathon with her father. It was a family tradition and one of the few chances she had to bond with her Dad. When her father died of cancer, her mother really didn't allow her children to show emotion.

It wasn't until the next Boston Marathon that Dave's mom truly had the opportunity to grieve. Running and crying now go hand in hand, she said.

So she thanked us and told us she loved us and loved what we were doing.

While it is hard to really impart how touching her speech was, I can tell you there wasn't a dry eye in the park.

As we all tried to get ourselves together, Coach Ramon jumped on the bench and said, "after that you all should add 5 miles to your run!"

So off we went.

I ran with two other girls. I planned on running the first full loop (6 miles) with them, and then doing the lower 4 mile loop, if I could. We slowly made it around once, and I knew that if I went off alone, I might not make it. So I decide to do the upper 5 mile loop with them, leaving them when we got back to the terrace. I was actually fine, my legs started to get a little sore around mile 9, but I made it to mile 9 (OMG) and kept going.

By the time I had made it 11 miles, I figured that doing 1 more mile to complete the second loop was not going to kill me.

So I actually ran 12 miles! I am hoping it wasn't a fluke, but at this point I can hardly wait for the Queens half marathon next month!

Shaking in my sneakers

So my first practice back, I was just as nervous as my first. After missing seven practices, I had no idea how I would perform. I stressed about the upcoming hill workout until practice finally started at 6:35. It was a hill workout. The description was clear cut, run up and down Cat Hill until the coaches tell you that you can stop.

Okay, actually I was fine. I enjoyed running from the Boat House to Cleopatra’s Needle and back, over and over. But I was more than happy to stop on cue.

Back from 2 weeks of bliss

Clearly I didn’t have time to blog while I was in Europe. In fact, I only checked my e-mail twice in the entire two and half weeks! This was quite a change considering I usually check my e-mail twice before 9am.

However, I did manage to run for 30-45 minutes about 4 or 5 times a week while I was away. I have to say the scenery was quite beautiful. In Germany, I ran along the shore of Lake Constance, through lush flower bushes and bountiful orchards. The air was cool and fresh at night, and the sleepy town of Vasserburg was completely safe to run late at night. In fact, one night I was running at around 10:30, it was almost pitch black, but up ahead I saw a little bon fire. As I approached I realized there was about 30 5 and 6 year old kids sitting around it. Then as if they sensed me approaching, then all rose and started sprinting down the street ahead of me with two adults. I have no idea where they ended up or why these little wood nymphs were up so late, but they were sure fast!

In Naples, I ran along the sea from port to port. It was stunning to see all the huge yachts in the water. The city, much like New York, was full of action late into the night, so I had plenty to take in as I ran with the lighted hills of the city embracing me like a jovial, happy to be alive, hug.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Detour #2!

I will soon be leaving the country to spend two weeks in Italy. So I can’t promise I will be blogging…or running. But I will try! I am very nervous to miss 3 longs runs. However, my coach assured me that as long as I run 40 minutes 3 times a week, I should be able to maintain my current fitness level. Coincidentally, the team is doing a Naples 10K in place of a long run this weekend, and I will actually be in Naples! So I will try to do my run there, as if with the team. This morning I got up early to pack and do my last long run. I ran by my favorite Astoria sites: down to the Socrates Sculpture Park and then over to Astoria Park, past the track and tennis courts, and along the water to soak in my last views of the skyline for a while, and finally around my favorite part of the park, the mammoth Astoria Pool, a public works project from the depression era before heading home to complete my 6.75 mile run.

Bye New York, I’ll be back soon!

Pictures: Top left, Scultpture Park, Top Right, Astoria Park, Center, Astoria Park Track, Bottom Left, Astoria Pool, Bottom Right, View from Sculpture Park.


So on Wednesday I was unbelievable excited about practice. I had been waiting to go since the moment I got the e-mail about the workout. Our Coach was going to lead us through undiscovered Central Park. Waterfalls, lakes and beautiful views were professed scenic highlights. Let’s face it, if waterfalls are involved, I am in. Not to mention we were going to intersperse running with squats and lunges! I heart interval training!

So I am walking out the door to practice and it starts raining. I grabbed an umbrella and started out toward the subway, but the after four straight days of 95 degree weather and relentless humidity, the heat steak seemed to be breaking. The sky started getting really dark, and I heard a distinct clap of thunder in the distance. (After lifeguarding for 8 years, I can hear thunder a good 30 miles away—out of the pool!) So I took a detour to the gym instead. I was pretty sad, but as I looked out at the street I saw the rain level going from “annoying and I really would like to have an umbrella” to “torrential downpour, hydroplaning ahead!”

About half way through my 4.5 miles the TV monitors lost signal, so much for I love the 90’s. But I kept going and finished my run in a respectable 42 minutes, and even took a power dance class to round out my workout.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

"Running is not fun" ~Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes is an ultra marathon runner. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, ending with the 2006 NYC Marathon. Pretty incredible. However, even Dean will admit that running is not fun. So don't worry folks, no one actually likes running.

Here is Dean's quote, in context, from his book, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, "To call running 'fun' would be a misuse of the word. Running can be 'enjoyable.' But in a pure sense of the word, running is not fun."

Nonetheless, it can be addicting.

While I can not say I am gleeful through my runs, I will say that I have never once regretted going on a run. You always feel better after working out.

On Saturday we had our long run. I ran my longest distance: 8 miles. And fun would not describe the experience.

We started out with a mission moment from a young girl who was in remission for cancer. She thanked us for running on behalf of the Society. She said 30 years ago, she would not be standing before us in remission. It was the support and research of the LLS that made her battle possible and relatively brief. Everyday science, research and support improves.

The beauty of the inspirational moment transitioned into a "pep talk" from our coach. He explained that running fast was not the goal. On long runs you want to run slower than your race pace because you want the actually time you spend running to reflect how long you will be running on the race day. Made sense.

So I started running in the ten minute mile pace group with a buddy. The first mile and a half up to the 102nd street turn off seemed like it took an hour. My partner and I struggled and discussed the fact that we were thinking about pain with every step. The hills on the 4 mile loop seemed to have gotten longer and steeper than the last time I had done this run.

But we kept at it. I was faking enthusiasm and optimism the whole way. I think my partner wanted to kill me. But we pushed each other. We talked about running, fundraising, weekend plans, work. You really get to know someone while running 8 miles. So we made it around the 4 mile loop for the first time, and we were both wondering, how on earth are we going to do it AGAIN?

We discussed slowing down, although that would be prolonging the pain, and decided to just keep going. I knew I could do it---I am the little runner that could after all. So we just kept going around the second loop. We were making awesome time, faster than our 10 projected 10 minute mile. So we huffed and puffed, and things started getting much better. The next 2 miles kind of breezed by. We were incredibly good partners because we both started suffering again at the same point. About 1.2 miles from the end. There were so many hills. I continued my fake cheerleading, and my partner kept our pace. I felt about 90 going up the last two hills, but I knew there was no way I could stop. In fact, I insisted we keep running across the terrace to the exact spot we started.

Once we stopped, we felt euphoric and ecstatic. For all our complaining, finished at exactly a 10 minute mile pace. My whole body felt light and fuzzy, and then cold and sweaty, but great nevertheless.

So running really is mental. I refused to let myself stop, short of my body involuntarily falling to the ground. And in the end, it made all the difference.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Now you know the why, here is the who

Our inspiration at the New York City Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the thousands of people, who are living with, or have received treatment for, a blood cancer.

Approximately 165 children and adults are diagnosed with leukemia, Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloma every day; this breaks down to seven people every hour.

Here are the stories of many people that wish to share their journeys, struggles, challenges and triumphs of living with cancer.

More reasons to support the Leukemia and Lymohoma Society

In 2006, the Society invested $61.6 million to support more than 480 researchers and projects in 15 countries on five continents. The Society also provides financial assistance to patients; sponsors scientific conferences around the country; produces educational materials and videos; and runs dozens of Family Support Groups nationwide. Because we receive no federal funding, we depend on you for continued support of these needed programs. To see exactly where your donation will benefit others click here.

How far we have come:

Team In Training (TNT) began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland's daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor.
The team of 38 runners raised $322,000 for the Society's Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter. Because of the pioneering efforts of Cleland and the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter, Team In Training was born and has grown into the world's largest endurance sports training program. Cleland was honored by Runner's World magazine in 2004 as one of their "Heroes of Running" for his role in establishing TNT.
Join the more than 30,000 runners, walkers, cyclists and triathletes who will participate in the world's major marathons, triathlons and century rides this year on behalf of the Society.

Team in Training's Mission:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The Society has dedicated itself to being one of the top-rated voluntary health agencies in terms of dollars that directly fund our mission.

The breakdown:
Leukemia: 175, 285 people living with Leukemia in the United States. It will strike nearly 11 times as many adults as children. About 30% of cancers in children are leukemia, and it will cause more deaths in children under 20 than any other cancer.

Why your donation matters, there has been a significant decline in the leukemia death rate in children due to research and improved medicine. You can help be a part of the cure.

Lymphoma:a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. Incidence rates are higher in adolescents and young adults. However, cure rates are more than 84%, your donation can help make it 100%.

Myeloma: cancer of the plasma cells. Survival rate of myeloma is only 31% today, making it one of the most difficult blood cancers to treat successfully.

Why you should donate

712,000 people currently battling a blood cancer. Blood cancers will cause the deaths of an estimated 55,100 people living in the United States this year.

Here is how your donation can help:

A donation of $25 provides patients and their loved ones with FREE booklets that contain up-to-date information on their disease and help them make informed decisions about their treatment options.

A donation of $50 makes possible a Family Support group with a trained facilitator where comfort can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members.

A donation of $100 helps supply laboratory researchers with supplies and materials critical to carrying out their search for cures.

Fast Times at Team in Training

So just as running was becoming more natural, I get an e-mail about Tuesday night practice...the test. I think the coaches purposely waited until the day of practice to send out a description of the run. We usually have a day or two to mentally prepare.

So I am reading. Okay we are going to run one mile as fast as we can, for a time. Okay, I think, no problem. This should be a quick practice. Maybe I should go to the gym, so I get in a good workout. Then I keep reading. After the mile, you will continue running the rest of the lower loop (1.7 miles total) to recover, and then you will run another mile as fast as you can. You will do this a total of three times. For those of you without your calculators, that is 5.2 miles, three of which are all out as fast as you can.

This may sound like fun...if you are a Kenyan. I, however, have never been a speedster. I am definitely the tortoise. Slow and steady, which is why I thought I might actually be able to finish this crazy 26.2 mile race. I don't care if I finish in 3 hours (maybe in another life...or body) or 6 (more likely), I just want to keep it moving and make it to the end!

So anyways, I was in a fair amount of panic by the time I got on the subway to go to practice. I decided to get a snack on the way to practice. I was fantazing about a organic banana, black cherry, cacao and almond milk smoothie from Blue Green, but I think I was too nervous to be hungry when I got off the subway. Which was lucky for two reasons, the first being I had no time to stop. I did manage to run into a deli and grab a Hint Pomegranate Tangerine Water. I have to say I had really high hopes for this water. I first saw it in an article on It is all natural with no artificial flavors. Unlike all the scary chemical Aquafina and Dasani flavored waters which use tons of artificial sweeteners. I refuse to incorporate any more splenda or aspartame into my life aside from my (diet) coke addiction.

Anyways, I was disappointed the bottle was really pretty, but the water didn't taste like anything, not even good water.

But there is also a second reason that it was good I had no time to stop for sustenance. When the coach described the workout he said, "you know you are doing it right if when you finish your first mile and you feel like you are going to puke, but you don't. By the end of the recovery you should be ready to go again.

I was not the only one. The Team was really small (maybe because it was July 3rd). We all looked like a bunch of 7th graders about to run "THE MILE." For the record, I think my all time best mile was in 7th grade, and to the best of my memory it was a 7.21 mile. I have come no where near that time in the last 11 years.

So we started with a slow jog to the starting line. I decided to go with the 9 minute 30 second heat. And we were off. I knew this was not going to be a nice conversational run. So I brought my ipod, weak. I always talk to teammates or sing if I am at the gym (much to the dismay of those on nearby treadmills), while I run. It really gets me through. Last night I could do neither. It was all I could do to utter a "How are you feeling" or "Hang in there" or a short two word response.

But I finished my first mile in 8 minutes and 36 seconds, which I was pretty happy about. I recovered and did it again. By the second recovery I was pretty damn tired and in desperate need of a water fountain. I found one, and tried to mentally prepare for the third mile. I think I can, I think I can. One step at a time. Think of all the people you are running for. Picture the children's ward at John Hopkins.

The third mile was pretty painful. For the first half, I felt like a duck moving as fast as humanly possible on land. Waddle, Waddle, Waddle. My inner thighs were searing and I actually kicked my self a few times. Very smooth. The smell of the horse poop all over the lower loop was seriously interfering with my ability to inhale deeply. Gross.

Nevertheless, my spirits remained high, and I was kind of enjoying myself. I can't believe I didn't make the cheerleading team in high school. It really is my calling.

By the last half of the mile, I was doing less waddling and more running. I finished, and man did it feel great. Kind of euphoric. No need to boot!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Tour de Central Park

I finally completed the full loop at this Saturday's practice! All six miles from East 90th street up around 110th street over the dreaded Harlem Hill, all the way back down to 59th Street and back up to 90 East Street. Actually, I had to run 7 miles, so I ran past 90th to 100th and then back to 90th again.

Yes, that was definitely the farthest I have ever run...and it wasn't that bad!

I just kept chatting, there were a few touch and go moments around the Carousel, but all together totally doable. Now I just have to do that 3 more times and I am there! Haha

Oh, I came across this website which has great facts about the park.

Did you know that there are 26,000 trees in Central Park?

Thank you!

Last week I mailed in all the donations you sent me! I can express how much I appreciate your support!
It means so much to me, and to the L & L society!
Off they go!

On their way
Just checking!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Risk factor

Joining Team in Training was a significant commitment to fundraising (feel free to donate now!) and training. While I knew this going in, I never really thought about the other things I would have to sacrifice. Friday nights. Wah wah wah. I know. You are over the complaining. Secretly, it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to go to bed early after a long week.

What I really never considered was that I was going to have to give up my heels. Those of you who know me know that I am vertically challenged. My insecurities date back to sixth grade when I abruptly stopped growing at a diminutive 5 feet with spine fully extended. As you can tell from the photo, I don’t own many flats. But lately I have been so worried about getting injured that I have decided to give up all my cute summer sandals, wedges and pumps as a preventative measure. It’s not going to be easy. I am preparing to be looking people in the shoulder for the next five months. But after I took a spill crossing Union Square in a pair of wedges in the rain last week, I decided it was necessary. I was lucky to get off with a few minor cuts and a bit of embarrassment, but next time…

Exciting discoveries

My Saturday running partner let me in a virtual cornucopia of run enhancing knowledge!

The first being that there is an incredible bathroom hidden under the stairs of Bethesda Terrace. I can over-hype this WC! These are not the damp, paper-strewn, mirror-less park bathrooms of Astoria Park. They are actually far nicer than any Starbucks bathroom I have ever used, and nicer than most of the restrooms in Barnes and Noble. They can only be described as immaculate creations of marble and stone with a rows and rows of stalls. Not that they were all necessary because they were all empty before I arrived! Everyone was probably in the stinky porta-potties lied up outside. Run easy New York.

Great discovery 2.

The Nike Town store on 5th ave lets runners leave their bags in lockers while they run. This means that I can practice in the park on non-team practice days without wondering what to do with all my stuff! I have a habit of preparing for every case scenario. So like Nicole Riche and her starlet posse, I too carry a larger than life, ever-present, 40+ pound shoulder bag that is stocked with enough provisions to prepare me for anything from a trip to the gym to an ice storm. Not exactly something I can leave under a bush in Central Park.
So thanks Nike!

Going the distance…not going for speed

Saturday was a beautiful day to be running in Central Park! I hoped off the train at 59th and headed up 5th taking in the pretty hotels, brownstones, and museums along the way. I don’t mind the ¾ mile walk to the terrace on the way to practice. On the way home it’s a little rough. After a great mission moment (more in a later post), my training group was assigned a 6 mile run. We aim to increase 1-2 miles a week, no more. So I decided to run with the 10 ½ minute mile group for two reasons: I knew people in that pace group and I have never run six miles! On the treadmill, I typically run about 9 -9½ minute miles, but let’s face it when you are running on the treadmill you want to do everything in your power to get off it as quickly as possible!

It turned out to be a great decision because it was by far the best, albeit the longest, run I have done since starting this crazy endeavor!

The time flew by, I never got tired, and I really enjoyed the park. Lots of dogs, bikers, baseball games, surprisingly lush trees. I always have to remind myself that Central Park is beautiful because it was created by landscape architects! For more on the creation of the first made park of the 19th century, check out the wikipedia entry.

So my first officially six mile run gave me a huge sense of accomplishment…I am still striding, I mean striving, for a runner’s high!

After practice I actually had to go to a work event in Flushing, so headed to the gym to shower and make myself as presentable as possible. Thank god for the New York Sports Club.

On my walk from the gym to Bryant Park where I was meeting a co-worker to hop on the 7 train, I realized I hadn’t had anything to drink all morning. Not good. I grabbed a bottle of water. For a brief moment the sound of my dad saying paying for water is like paying for air to breathe resounded in my head, but I decided water would be less expensive than a trip to the hospital if I passed out due to dehydration. On the bright side, I had already traveled 8 1/2 miles on foot and it wasn’t even 11:30, pretty cool.

If she can do it…

Okay, let me start at the beginning. When we first started training our Coach Christine was pregnant. If you were running behind her, like I was, it would have been impossible to tell that she was expecting. Not only was she whipping past most of the runners, but with the exception of her stomach, she was fitter and more toned that most people in the park. A few weeks ago she was leading our cool down. She had us squatting on one leg with one knee crossed over the other. I was kind of holding my breath as she displayed incredible balance. Then someone innocently asked when she was due. She casually replied, one week.

At that point I practically feel over, and the team let out a collective gasp. This woman was running with a week to go! And she was running FAST!

Fast forward three weeks, she has a beautiful baby and is back at practice. For the record, she looks like she was never pregnant.

As if that was inspiring and humbling enough, she assures us that child birth is way harder than running a marathon. Time to suck it up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mission moments

One of the things that makes running with Team in Training is the commitment to the cause.

At almost every practice we have someone who is or has battled blood cancer speak to us and encourage us. It really keeps me going.

In fact, we even have team mates who finished chemo just months ago running with us! Pretty impressive, right?

One of our honored teammates from last season was at practice last week cheering us on. She is a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer at 2 years old, and is now in remission. Every time we came running around the lower loop she would yell, go team! It's hard to stop running with support like that!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bump in the road.

Thus far I have managed to make it through our Saturday morning long runs without too much pain. Until this week, June 2. I got home pretty late, but still managed to make it to Central Park on time. However, showing up is not enough---this isn’t college. I am actually expected to run, and that part was excruciating. Every step. Usually I transition to cruise mode after a mile or so. Not this time. My coaches weren’t kidding when they told us to give up our Friday nights. Sadly, it’s necessary. It’s me and Netflicks on Fridays from now until October 21st. Alright, time to write a letter to Kate, my honored teammate, because she is what is really keeping me going.

Something new

This week we started our interval training.

Basically we run 8 minutes, then do squats, push ups, and lunges for 8 minutes, and repeat for about an hour. Then we do a bunch of ab exercises. I thought this would be really rough—in fact, I got a pre-practice Mister Softee cone on the way to the park for insurance. Once I start running, I try not to stop because it is hard to start again. But by the end of practice, I felt awesome! Fast forward two days and I felt seriously sore, but still awesome. I alternate freaking out about running and fundraising. And I need your support in both, so please donate. If you have already donated, send me some love! Thanks! I won’t be able to do it without you.

Don't got the beat

The weirdest thing about training with the team is not using my ipod. I would say there have only been a handful of times in the last 5 years I have worked out without music of some kind. The few times my ipod has malfunctioned, I have hoped off the treadmill, and hoped on the next train to the Apple Store. At first working out sans music was kind of like working out naked. On the plus side, I was forced to be social. Talking with teammates throughout the runs really helps keep the miles rolling along.

So early!

Generally, New York City likes to sleep late on weekends, rolling out of bed just in time for a 12:30 brunch. But bright and early Saturday morning I arrived in Central Park for my first “long run.” I learned that Central Park has four main loops: a four mile, two five miles and a 6 mile. As a beginner, I was first introduced to the 4 mile loop. I made it the whole way without collapsing or even walking. Yay! Bright and early Saturday morning I arrived in Central Park for my first “long run.” I learned that Central Park has four main loops: a four mile, two five miles and a 6 mile. As a beginner, I was first introduced to the 4 mile loop. I made it the whole way without collapsing or even walking. Yay!

Month 1 Recap

Practice one.

I arrived at Central Park at 6:30pm…completely terrified and more than a little nauseous. At this point, the following thoughts were going through my head:

-What have I gotten myself into?
-I am not a runner; I am out of my mind.

All of the sudden a guy wearing a backpack sprinted across Bethesda Terrace toward me.

-Oh my god, is this guy in the beginner group? I am so out of my league. Fortunately, the eager fellow turned out to be my coach. Actually, my “freakin coach” as he calls himself.

The first practice wasn’t too bad. It was 3.5 miles; farther than I have ever run in a race, but not the farthest I have ever run. It was my first encounter with the famed Central Park Reservoir loop, for the record that 1.5 mile distance seems eternal. Oh, I discovered the coolest thing ever at practice: the lampposts in CP have the street numbers on the bottom. Believe me when I tell you that I counted every single pole on the way from the reservoir back to the terrace at E72.

Views from Bethesda Terrrace