Wednesday, December 23, 2009

you must be crazy!!

I used to make fun of people who ran in the cold, used to think they were nuts. Like they had something seriously wrong with having such desire to run in the cold... but, you know what... its really not that bad!!!

My dad has asked me the past 2 weekends, the same question I would have asked those people I used to consider crazy. "How can you breathe?, Dont your lungs hurt?" My answer, "no you can breathe, its fine, you really dont feel the cold after the first mile or so." And then I get his signature laugh, "haaa" and a "I dont know how you do it."

So after my routine Saturday morning chit chat with Dad, I got to thinking - you know what - running in the cold is actually pretty nice. Yes, it is very cold out. Yes, I cant feel my toes or fingers for a bit. Yes, you do still sweat, and Yes, it does take a while to warm up. But after all the inital whines and cries about being cold, I actually really enjoyed my run. I ran the Ted Corbett 15k in Central Park this past Saturday before the whopper of a snowstorm. The air was still and silent. It was definitely as the saying goes, "the calm before the storm."

Friday night, I took a ride up to NYRR's offices to pick up my bib and souvenier with a fellow runner. Actually, an avid runner and triathlete. On the way up, we talked about how much they loved to run in the cold, that it was his favorite time to run. Meanwhile as Im listening, Im thinking I would never CHOOSE to run in this weather, but I wasnt backing out of the race either. I already paid for it, so I better get my moneys worth!! So - back to saturdays thoughts - I thought about everything we talked about regarding cold weather running. Yeah, its different, but you dont have pounds of sweat running off of you, there isnt any humidity, and... well... there really arent that many runners on the road.

Aside from cold weather running, I realized I have a true passion for running. Now that I am not running with TFK (for the time being - until Spring time) I still keep in touch with some fellow runners. Fellow runners who were supposed to run with me in the bitter cold on Saturday... Its okay I understand. Peoples tolerance for cold varies. So, I wound up running alone. Which is fine because by start time, waiting in the corrals, I am usually not with any running mates anyways. But my point is, I did this on my own. I didnt back out because everyone else did. I wanted to go, I wanted to do it, and I did. And damn, I felt good!!! consistent sub 8:15 miles for 9.3 miles. guess what that means... on track for some major improvement and an achievable goal of qualifying for Boston 2011!!!

Next obstacle... how do you run on Icy grounds??!! :) just kidding... Ill stick to spin and elliptical.. NO INJURIES PLEASE!!!

Oh, P.S. I once again stalked the internet in search for tips for cold weather running and stumbled on a few websites... this one is a fave:

Runners Rescue has great basic tips. Its a great site for people like me who just need the idea of what and what not to do in cold weather.. or just in general when it comes to tips and inforation. check it out! http://www.runnersrescue.com/
http://www.runnersrescue.com/Cold_Weather_Running_Tips.htm

Till the New Years Midnight Run...
xoxo
Lee

Sunday, December 13, 2009

winter wowes?

Do you know when things become such a routine, so mundane, you look forward to a change? Well by October, I felt that way about the darn Bridle path in Central Park. I was so ready for a break from that wooded dirt path, I thought I would never miss it.

Once again... I proved myself wrong... In the frigid rainy cold last weekend, I found myself meeting Sid and Asteria for the Saturday morning run. And where else? but the Bridle path! 6 miles of running and all I could think about is maaaannn... I missed this path! Yes, I missed the bridle path the one place that I complained about most this past running season. What I realized was that it really is a runners haven. The rolling hills, the dirt beneath your feet - its so much easier on your knees. Especially in the cold. Believe it or not, running on the road is extremely hard to do in the winter. The ground is frozen, your muscles and joints are cold and stiff so running on the dirt makes it easier both on your joints and muscles and your feet too!



You know what else amazed me out there? The fact that NYC has so many dedicated runners. There were tons of people just like me trying to get their run in before it started to down pour. Huge motivator for me! I am trying to get back into the swing of a running routine, but I hate the cold!!! This definitely helped - if they can do it, why cant I???

Yesterday, I ran the Holiday 4-mile run in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Woah Nelly! Was it cold! 26 degrees to be exact. Strategy for this? "Sprint it out! Its Friggin Freezing!" 5,000 runners were just as crazy as Maggie and I. It was so cold, that when people took the little water cups at the fluid stations, the water was freezing as it hit the ground. It was like a sheet of ice! Coach Neil asked me this question, "so, does this mean your crazy or just dedicated?" (referring trekking it out to Brooklyn in the frigid cold to run.) My response - "CRAZY" But whatever, it was fun! Running in below freezing temperature with sub 7:30 min miles... who can say they did that???



Running in the cold is quite an experience. Especially when I of all people cant stand the cold. So, I run to Runnersworld.com to find out how to run in the cold. 10 tips - I think I listened to 3 of them... Many runners and professionals tell you not layer up, but seriously, how do you not?? I know once I get going and warm up, Im sweating but if I cant get warm Im MISERABLE!!! So, I change right after the run to keep the chill out. Pros tell you not to worry about speed in the winter, its all about maintenance. so, I dont run hard, I just go. Well when I go for that matter. Motivation is so hard in the winter... the best way to stay motivated is to have a partner. Like runners world says, you cant back out if you have a partner. Perfect example, the race yesterday... I totally wouldnt have gone if Maggie wasnt going. Good thing we planned this together... no backing out! Good thing we coordinated to go together!


Hmm.... I wonder what other tips Ill find...





Adios Amigos!


Lee

Thursday, December 3, 2009

post-marathon depression

I always hear about this Post-marathon depression. I knew when the marathon was over, I would be.. well.. depressed. For weeks and months, I spent 2 nights a week and either Saturday or Sunday running with TFK, then 2 other nights a week crosstraining. The marathon was my life, the people, the coaches, the park -- and then it ended. Post marathon depression. Yes, Its there.

It is now one month and 3 days after my first marathon and can still say I am looking forward to doing it again next year. I did not run for 4 weeks after the marathon. I aggravated my IT-Band and Dr Long advised me not to run. So I think I was more bothered by the fact that I was told not to basically be stupid and run for a bit, and also because all the sudden, I wasnt trying to cram in work, social life and training all at once. A month later, a 20-lb turkey, Apple cream pie, cherry pie, and mashed potatoes later; I ran. I ran and ran and ran... Probably not the best strategy after not running for weeks, but it just felt so good! So, the good new is... IM BAAACK!!! I have signed up for 3 races so far. December 12th - Holiday 4miler in Prospect park, December 19th - Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park and (drum roll please...) the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run on December 31st! Yes, you read right... running through the New Year! Why not start it off right??

Cant wait to get back into the swing of things... I miss running. Knowing I can put on a pair of sneakers and tights and pound the pavement allows me to escape the stresses of every day life, enjoy the outdoors and socialize with good friends. So keep posted! theres more coming... I knew it wouldnt be too long before I got back on the road!!

love ya all!!
Lee

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best Day of my Life!

Finally!!! I am able to log onto my computer! One of the keys has been stuck for weeks! Now - Its time to tell you about the greatest day of my life!


Marathon Sunday was by far the best day of my life! It surpasses setting a high school record, it surpasses graduating college, blows out of the water the day I moved out on my own! From the 3rd time I woke up in anticipation of the start of the marathon, I had this overwhelming energy. Even with the lack of sleep the night before from all the excitement, I just felt so happy! I couldnt believe that after all the contemplating of training and eventually running my first marathon, I was actually going to make it to the start that morning of November 1st!


Our Call-Tree went off with no hiccups! 4:30am I get my call from Ally and Im up to call Jesse. Thats it! now I am up and getting ready to go up to the buses. The night before I made sure my clothes were laid out:
- running tights
- Socks and such
- Singlet with my name on it and bib already safety-pinned on
- Sneakers with D-Tag securely fastened
- Arm warmers
- Head warmer
- Throw-away sweats and teeshirt

and bag was packed with everything I needed for race day:
- Powergels
- Advil
- Tums
- Hat/Gloves
- Extra socks
- Change of clothes (post marathon)
- Garbage bags (to sit on at Fort Wadsworth)
- Body Glide
- TP
- Salt packets
- Chapstick
- Extra hair elastics and safety pins


I make my white bread toast with a smidge of Peanut Butter and eat a banana. I toast my bagel and pack another banana with a bottle of water and gatorade for my pre-race snack.


Dressed and ready to go, Jackie and I get blessings and good luck wishes from her mommy ;) Thanks Eva for your love!!! We venture up to 51st and 7th to meet our bus - TFK Bus #1 - AKA- The Party Bus! And it was!! Everyone with huge smiles on their faces chit chatting away about this and that, but NO TALK OF PACE, TIMES, NERVES, NOTHING RUN RELATED! Oh, and yes, there were 'rules of the bus' sent out by my girl Vanessa! good call Vane!


We arrive driving over the spectacular Verrazzano Bridge at Fort Wadsworth Park to massive amounts of people walking around, laying on garbage bags, stretching, trying to keep warm and speaking so many different languages, I never have experienced such a scene. It was like organized chaos. From our walk from the bus to the Team for Kids tent, my nerves were getting the best of me - but in a good way! With excitement building, we all found a nice semi-drier non-muddy spot to lay out our garbage bags and relax for a bit before it was time to head to the start.


Finally... the anticipation of getting to the start is finally a reality!! at 9:20 am, we walk over to stretch and then to drop off our bags to be brought to the finish at the UPS trucks. at 9:40, the corrals open for the 10am start. Anxiously, I walk over with Jesse and a group lead by Coach Glen. We walk into the back of the Blue Corral and slowly make our way to the start while slowly stripping off my layers of sweats, tee shirts, and hat. Crossing the starting line while hearing Frank Sinatra's New York, New York puts such a huge smile on everyones face! Onto the Verrazano Bridge we go! Jesse and I only had strategy for the first 2-3 miles believe it or not! We both agreed that if we hold back on those first initial miles, we were in the clear for the remainder of our journey. So, crossing the start, we take in the views and the headwind of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and make our way into the streets of Brooklyn. Adrenaline pumping, we scope for the photographers and make sure we are in eyesight of getting our photos shot!

Running through the streets of Brooklyn and Queeens, I noticed so many details I would have never seen if I weren't on foot. The differences in neighborhoods - from the storefronts, buildings, size of streets, the people, the sounds and the culture. Its incredible! I never spent much time in Brooklyn or Queens so the excitement I was filled with was only heightened by the people cheering my name and pushing me along was incredible!


This brings me to the hardest part of the race - the Queensboro Bridge. Knowing I have ran this bridge not once, but twice helped me through my rough patch. Approaching the bridge, the crowds seemed to dissipate a bit and then we hit the bridge. It was the quietest part of the whole race. All Jesse and I had to do was make it up and over the bridge, and then we would have the roar of the 1st Avenue crowds to carry the next few miles. Queensboro bridge was dark, cold, and windy. By the time we were on the decline of the bridge, we began to anticipate the noise... down the ramp and rounding around to 1st Ave was AWESOME!! there were crowds 10 people deep; shoulder to shoulder screaming and cheering! OMG! Yes, I did get choked up a bit - no tears - but close! Down First Ave, Jesse and I had our eyes peeled for her roommate, my friends and our families. I cant believe all the spectators! I was in awe at how many people were out on the streets partying it up while 42,000 runners pounded the pavement! Surprisingly, I saw so many more familiar faces than I thought I would! Jess, Jared and Brian were the first crew of people I saw coming down First. Not even knowing they were there, I hear this familiar voice start screaming my name. It was Jess as I quickly ran past. I turned around to see if that was her, and quicky pulled U-turn to go over and say hi! Seeing them made my day! They came from Jersey and CT to see me for all of 30 seconds, now those are friends! Thanks guys for making the hike and fighting off the crowds!!


Continuing down First, Jesse saw her roommate and her friends, I saw more friends and slowly became concerned that I wasnt going to find my family and Whitney. I told them to be on the left West side of the Ave and to be in the 80's... as the 80's were ending, and I got to 90th Street, I can see these absurdly bright green signs with my name on it, and I knew I found them! Arms up in the air, yelling and screaming I went diving into them!!! I couldnt believe how many of them came! Dad, Brandon, Unkie, Bernadette, Cousin Gene and Lydia, and of course - my bestest - Whitney!!! Bearing powergels, water and mini milky ways, they quickly tried rushing me down the road... after hugs and kisses and thank you's, I took off down First.


The crowds started dissipating after that, and then I saw to my surprise, Maggie! She was volunteering at the 96th Street fluid station! My other running chica! Due to her stress fracture, she couldnt run... I cant believe she is so dedicated to New York Road Runners! She still volunteered her time! Thanks for the agua Mags!


At the Willis Avenue bridge, it seemed as if tons of runners "hit the wall". People were stopping dead in their tracks bottle-necking the traffic behind them. I had to bob and weave through the crowds from the Willis Avenue bridge through the Bronx and over the Madison Avenue bridge. This was my strongest part of the race, so it was hard to keep momentum up when people were stopping left and right. Running into Harlem, I find Coach Asteria. She runs with me for about a block, hands me a tablet of electrolytes and tells me to take it with water. Apprehensively, I hold onto it until I find Coach Sid! Gotta love Sid! Seriously, he is the biggest motivator on the course! Smile from ear to ear, he gives me a high five, asks me how I feel and tells me Im doing great! He tells me, to keep up the pace, I look strong and not to run with anyone else the rest of the race, I have it from here. He leaves me to go find others, and I take off! Down Fifth Avenue, I run into Dimitri... he's walking... the workhorse is walking. I of course get concerned, try some words of encouragement and then see the pain in his face. He turns to me and says, "I cant, it hurts so much!" Of course I dont want to leave him in so much pain, but he pushes me along, telling me not to stop because he is. Even though, I hate to see a teammate in pain and alone, I continue on my journey.

at 110th street, I know where I am - that constant 1-mile incline to 90th street. I think to myself, I have done this before, I have been told how to run it, JUST DO IT!. I put my head down, shorten my stride and pound it out! 96th, 95th, 94th thinking - when is this going to end??? I see the turn into the park! I am almost there! Done! Finally!!! The last toughest part of the race is done!!! Into the park through Columbus Circle and up to Tavern on the Green - Thats it, thats all I had left! The crowds are about 8 people deep now, cheering us on! Signs reading beers are less than 2 miles away, signs saying why quit now?


Going through the park and into Columbus Circle, I was a mess. My emotions were on such a roller coaster! My mind was mush and it was teetering from bizarre thoughts of Am I really doing this right now is this a dream, to Am I going to make it, to do I feel my toes or am I just imagining that they are numb? It was weird. So weird. I was laughing and crying all at once. And then I see the fountain in Columbus circle and see the sign that the finish is about 500 meters away and it seemed as if all that crazy thought seemed to disappear! I see the finish and the smile on my face couldnt be any bigger! I put my arms in the air and cross!!! Instantly, I break down into tears! (oh, and PS. I am crying right now writing this - re-living that moment, INCREDIBLE!!) I couldnt believe I had accomplished something so big, something so real, something that I never would have ever imagined doing! The sense of accomplishment and self revelation was so overwhelming, I just cried and cried (with a huge smile on my face of course!) I am handed a medal, then a blanket, then a bag of food. I find my way to Cherry Hill where my coaches and teammates re-group post-race. Everyone with smiles on their faces and blankets wrapped around them we congratualte eachother and share our times, stories and of course snap a few photos!


Post-race tent is a bit of a blur. I cant really tell you much about that. So, I exited the park to find my family and came across a woman who looked so tired and confused. She couldnt find her husband. With her voice shaking and cracking, she asks if she could borrow my cell phone, and of course I let her. She was so worked up, she couldnt even dial the numbers, so I dial for her and hand her the phone. She instantly starts crying when she finds out where he is and says, "Ok wait for me dont move, Ill be right there". She hangs up and starts thanking me a 100 times over. I of course start crying again because I dont know what I would have done if that was me - no cell phone and couldnt find my family. As I reunite with the fam, they hug me and congratulate me and cant tell me enough how proud they are of me! And of course, my big italian family - all they want to do is feed me!


A few photo snpas after, the clan takes the adventure with me all the way back to my apartment. They sit and relax for a bit while I take a bath full of Ice. That ice bath was probably the best thing ever! my legs felt like Jello and I knew they would be killing me on Monday, so I toughed it out for as long as I could. The numbness was painful pleasure!


So, after I finally got myself together, I sat and chatted the afternoon away. Shared my roller coaster ride of emotions, thanked everyone, viewed the pictures they took and of course they had to make sure I ate and drank to replenish myself! shortly after, they left and Brandon and I started drinking beers watching football. Yes, an ideal sunday afterall.. little 26.2 mile run, food, beers and football!!! Thanks Bran for sticking around!!!







Trying to be the CHAMP that I am, Jackie Brandon and I ventured to our post-marathon gathering at Slate. Dazzled with our bling-bling medals, fellow TFK'ers and I took shots of what other than, Patron (Bitches!) and toasted to our accomplishments. A couple of celebratory cocktails later, everyone's high came crashing down... The tiredness sank in and I called it a night...







November 1st, 2009 will go down in Blondie history as her single most remembered day of her life! Thank you all of my supporters! Thank you everyone who donated, thank you for all the good lucks and thank you thank you thank you for following me though this journey!

In the beginning of all of this, I mentioned I would be tracking my efforts on my first marathon journey - well its not going to end here! I am doing this again! My next goal - QUALIFY FOR BOSTON! I dont know if it will be a 2010 show, but it will definitely be a 2011 event!

Official finish time: 3:53:10

Official NYTimes finisher: 12,041


peace out!

-Lee
xoxo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marathon tid-bits and facts

its winding down... days left... lets count Today - 1, Saturday - 2 ... Then the BIG DAY!

2 DAYS PEOPLE! holy cow! Since my last 2 days will be consisting of marathon everything whether its eating habits and foods, clothes, articles read, movies seen, thoughts in my mind, everything I talk about, events that I go to, shopping and stores.. marathon, marathon, marathon!

While browsing the internet, once again today veering toward marathon-related anything, I stumble across an article on MSNBC about 5 tips for marathon runners... READ IT--its good info for my cheering squad! its a really old article, but it definitely gives good advice

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15547368


check out this article in The New York Times... great advice, and quotes 2 of my TFK coaches!!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/the-best-marathon-advice-youll-ever-get/

Did you know!!?? Dunkin donuts has a Marathon Donut? well go figure... "America Runs on Dunkin" how funny is that!!

This years marathon is the 40th Anniversary of the New York City marathon.


The first marathon was in central park in 1970 and consisted of 127 runners of which only 55 finished.


This year, an expected 42,000 runners are participating with an approximate 5 million spectators throughout the 5 boros.

Its supposedly the biggest sporting event in the world!

Check out Raul's article in The Daily News... So great to have his accomplishments quoted, he deserves it! Hey Papo - all you know how to do is drink Patron!?!?

http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2009/10/29/2009-10-29_three_new_yorkers_running_new_york_city_marathon_for_more_than_just_bragging_rig.html




2 days!!! Ill see you all out there, right!!!??

Monday, October 26, 2009

Official BIB # 39615

Check it out folks! my Race day BIB # is 39615
General Start # 2 - start time 10:00 am


Since the majority of you can not be here to cheer me on, I wanted to give you some logistics for race day. Below is my projected marathon pace and finish












Please follow me through this journey, you can track me using the following alerts:

Athlete alert provided by Time Warner Cable. Follow the link below:

The other option is Athlete Race Tracker, which is a website that is only available on race day, while the race is in progress. You don’t have to sign up for it. go to : http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/


For my Cheer Squad, I have a few rules for you:
1) I need to see you more than once
2) Give me lots of words of encouragement - even if I look like I want to stop
3) I want to see posters and signs
4) Water/Gatorade and or PowerGels are welcomed!
5) You must come meet me at the finish
... and last but not least
6) Have fun! Enjoy this day as much as I am!!

oh
and 7) have a drink for me during the parties!!!
So from all the hoopla I hear about marathon day, these are the recommendations given for good Spectator locations:
Manhattan, East Side, First Avenue: First Avenue might be the craziest, most crowded place to watch the race -- the sidewalks can be packed more than eight people deep. The runners are 16 miles into their race at this point and appreciate the roar of the crowd as they come off the Queensboro Bridge. (At First Avenue and 59th Street, Food Emporium will be sampling food and beverages from Emerald Nuts, New York Apple, and Poland Spring, while Clear Channel Radio will have a DJ playing tunes. At 96th Street, you can be part of the T-Mobile Thumbathon and race against other "thumbs" to see who texts the fastest for a chance to win a Blackberry. At 119th Street and First Avenue, BP will set up an Invigorate Station with giveaways and photo opportunities.)

First Avenue is one of the best places to see runners twice: You can see them run up First Avenue, then walk west and see the runners on Central Park South or, if you're farther north, on Fifth Avenue above 90th Street. Harlem: On race day, the sidewalks on Fifth Avenue between 135th Street and 110th Street are filled with people coming from church, going to brunch, and cheering for runners. Some gospel bands play live on the course (look at 135th, 125, and 117 streets). Marcus Garvey Park, between 120th and 124th Streets, is a leafy respite with bleachers set up for spectators.Manhattan, East Side, Fifth Avenue: Emerald Nuts, a marathon sponsor, is marking Mile 21.2 with a sampling and interactive photo opportunity for spectators. The runners stay on Fifth Avenue and run along Central Park until 90th Street, where they turn in.
Central Park: Central Park is an ideal place to watch the race; just be aware that moving around the park can be difficult on race day. Good spots include: Park Drive between 90th and 86th Streets; Park Drive below 72nd is often more crowded. You can cross the park on either the 85th Street or 65th Street transverse roads. You cannot cross Park Drive, but you can go under it: Try the arches at 80th Street, 73rd Street, 67th Street, and 62nd Street.
Central Park South: This part of the course can be crowded; spectators might find it easier to access the south side of the street than the north side. Look for Continental Airline's entertainment zone at Columbus Circle, where the course turns into the park for the final time. Street teams will also be handing out Emerald Nuts on Central Park South.

There are a few strategies you can attack to see me more than once. So, see below my pretty pictures of the Subways along the marathon route and some strategies.
Strategy # 1 :
- Take the R Train to any stop in Brooklyn along 4th Avenue (station #'s 3 - 11):
- 77th Street - 45th Street - Prospect Ave.
- Bay Ridge Ave - 36th Street - 4th Ave/9th Street
- 59th Street - 25th Street - Pacific Street
This allows you to view the runners between miles 3 and 8, but note that until mile 8, runners wearing orange
bibs will be on the left side of the road and all others on the right side.
- Take the R Train back into Manhattan to station #22 (Lexington Ave/59th Street)
- Walk East to 1st Avenue and view the runners between miles 16 and 17
- Walk West to Central Park to see runners complete mile 25

Strategy # 2:
- Take the R Train to any stop in Brooklyn along 4th Avenue (station #'s 3 - 11):
- 77th Street - 45th Street - Prospect Ave.
- Bay Ridge Ave - 36th Street - 4th Ave/9th Street
- 59th Street - 25th Street - Pacific Street
This allows you to view the runners between miles 3 and 8, but note that until mile 8, runners wearing orange
bibs will be on the left side of the road and all others on the right side.
- Take the R Train back into Manhattan to station #22 (Lexington Ave/59th Street) and transfer to the 6 Uptown
train to stations #26-28 (96th, 103rd, or 110th Street).
- Walk East to 1st Avenue and view the runners between miles 18 and 19
- Walk West to Central Park to see runners at around mile 23
Strategy # 3:
- Take the R Train to any stop in Brooklyn along 4th Avenue (station #'s 3 - 11):
- 77th Street - 45th Street - Prospect Ave.
- Bay Ridge Ave - 36th Street - 4th Ave/9th Street
- 59th Street - 25th Street - Pacific Street
This allows you to view the runners between miles 3 and 8, but note that until mile 8, runners wearing orange
bibs will be on the left side of the road and all others on the right side.
- Take the R Train back into Manhattan to station #40 (57th Street/7th Avenue)
- Walk North to Central Park South to see runners between miles 25 and 26

Also, Team for Kids has organized cheering zones if you want to hit those up:
Brooklyn (Just before Mile 8) – 4th Avenue at the corner of Pacific Street, 1 block from Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. The cheering station entrance is near the N, R train on the Southeast corner, by P.C. Richard. Take the D, M, N, R to Pacific Street. Staff: Eugene Johnson. Please arrive by 10:15 am to cheer Team for Kids runners; come earlier (8:45 am) to see elite athletes race by the station. (according to my pacing sheet, I should be at this point 11:15’ish)
Queens (Just before Mile 15) – The foot of the Queensboro Bridge at Crescent Street and Queens Bridge Plaza South. Take the 7, N or W to Queensboro Plaza or the E, R, V to Queens Plaza. Staff: Lyncia Beggs. Please arrive by 10:45 am to cheer Team for Kids runners; come earlier (9:10 am) to see elite athletes race by the station. (according to my pacing sheet, I should be at this point around 12:20’ish)
Bronx (About Mile 20.5) –Graham Triangle–138th Street and 3rd Avenue. Take the 6 to 138th Street and 3rd Avenue or take the 4, 5 to 138th Street and Grand Concourse. Staff: Barton Adams. Please arrive by 11:30 am to cheer Team for Kids runners; come earlier (9:30 am) to see elite athletes race by the station. (according to my pacing sheet, I should be at this point 1:05’ish)Harlem (Mile 22) – Marcus Garvey Park (West 122nd Street and Mount Morris Park West). Take the 2, 3 to 125th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Avenue or take the 4, 5, 6 to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Staff: Nakia Alston. Please arrive by 11:30 am to cheer Team for Kids runners; come earlier (9:30 am) to see elite athletes race by the station. (according to my pacing sheet, I should be at this point around 1:20’ish)
If I stick to my guns, my competitive nature, and my goal, I should cross the GLORIOUS FINISH at Taveron the green around 2:00pm!!!
after crossing that finish, getting wrapped in my blanket and given my medal, I will be escorted over to Cherry Hill where we have a VIP TFK spot in the park. Please come celebrate with me there!! I want to see everyone who came out to support me!!!
OMG!! SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT!!! see you all on Sunday!!!!!!!!
xoxoxo
Lee

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ONE WEEK!

I CANT BELIEVE IT!! exactly one week from today, I will have ran 26.2 miles through all 5 Boro's of New York City! From the Verrazano Bridge, through Brooklyn, Queens, over the Queensboro Bridge, into Manhattan and down First Avenue, over the Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx, over the Madison Ave Bridge back into Manhattan, through Harlem, down Fifth Avenue, into Central Park, through Columbus Circle and back into the Park to Tavern on the Green. Holy Cow! Instead of just some distant vision, its actually here!



Today, we had the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5 mile run. It was a little fun run that kicks off Marathon week. The excitement in the air is unbelievable!! Since Marathon Sunday is the day after Halloween this year, the majority of the team decided we would have a pseudo-Halloween today in celebration of our huge dedication and ambition to finishing the race next sunday. So, the 80's were in full effect! Jem and the Holograms were out in Central Park! and, damn!! we looked good, LOL! Stephanie was Jem, Jackie, Vanessa and I were the Holograms and Carly and Ally were the Misfits.



Okay, Okay, I know your dying to know where we found all of this ridiculous stuff we are wearing right!!?? Well... we ventured it up to Washington Heights, 181st Street. and man oh man, they have some awesome food! What was meant to be a snack because little old blondie, aka, me... was starving... wound up being quite the meal all for $30 bucks!! total for the 3 of us!!! mmm.. a little culture, delish!









How can I forget... Union Square has all of the Asics Marathon advertisements posted! Jackie, my awesome roommate, remembered her camera yesterday and we took pictures of every ad in the subway station.


Every time I see those ads, I get this overwhelming excitement. I love them! Okay, Im obsessed...










I still cant believe it, if I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times... I cant believe the marathon is almost here. This week is going to fly by. Im so excited, words cant explain!!!






I have enjoyed this experience so much, Im scared for November 2nd. I dont want it to end...




Mission this week: 1) dont get sick 2) dont get sick 3) aviod injury 4)enjoy all the marathon week events 5) dont get sick 6) carbo-load... aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!! =)



I know I owe you my Bib # and race info, I promise... this week! I will have maps and everything of the course...



xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Blondie (since that seems to be the adopted name my TFK'ers have given me)

12 days... thats less than 2 weeks!

Time is flying folks! The days are getting shorter and the marathon is creeping up quickly and I still have so much to do to get ready for the big day! I think I might need to make a life-sized poster list of all the things I still need to do. Ahh! the excitement and the anxiety of getting ready for the big day!

Things to do still...
  • Find a pair of tights that I am 100% sure I want to run in. (returned about 5 pairs in the past month).
  • Decide what shirt I am going to wear under my racing singlet.
  • Put my name on my singlet
  • Buy gloves
  • Buy my marathon day throw away clothes. - yes I say buy because I cant part with any of my sweats!
  • Make plans for my Dad, Brother and Crew to come in and cheer me on.
  • Decide if my new shoes are broken in or if I'm going to run in my old ones...
  • 2 more physical therapy appointments
  • RSVP to after marathon events
  • RSVP for pre-marathon events
  • Pick up race day package
  • Relax
  • Sleep

Im drawing a blank now, but there are definitely a bunch of things I think of sporatically throughout the day, and in the back of my mind I say, "Oh I cant forget about that..."

Saturday we had our official last run of the season. I cant believe it! unbelievable! No more early Saturday morning runs. What am I going to do on friday nights now? No lasagna dinners? no 10pm bed time? Okay, its not over yet... I still have 2 weeks before I can worry about that. Saturday was bitter bitter cold! It was by far my worst run this year. It hurt and I couldnt get warm. I had on my warm weather running gear and the chill in my body did not go away. I pray that marathon Sunday is not that cold. What happened to fall? Oh, Fall!! PLease come back!! at least for 11/1!!! I do not like the cold. I have great confidence in completing my first marathon, but the cold is my one element that will hold me back from having a great run! My body can not relax and loosen up when it is cold so I am asking all of you to pray, pray that marathon Sunday will be a great weather day for running... upper 50's, lower 60's no rain!!!

Are you just as excited as I am!!!!???

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inspiration!

The mental wall is something I have been trying to avoid at all costs. Lately, I have mentioned how I have a few things that inspire me to complete this 26.2 journey. I thought it would be good to share those inspirational motivators with you fellow followers. But first, you have to understand, the inspiration comes from the people around me, the things I hear and see... so here goes; here are a few things that keep me from coming close to that wall:

Evan posted this video on his Facebook page and as soon as I watched it, I got choked up, inspired at the distance we will be traveling on foot and the sights to be seen along the way... Please watch it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnxknAnBVk0


I have become obsessed with the Jay-Z song, Empire State of Mind. The lyrics are all about NYC and how this city can inspire you to do thing nobody can dream of. Something about the song is so invigorating, I cant explain it...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2nnrctKtq8


Lastly, Jackie pointed out the new Asics marketing campaing for the marathon. She found this in Runners mag and I cant help but read it over and over again... Breaking down each mile with a reason to keep moving forward and accomplishing something that I thought I would never accomplish..

1: HELLO STARTING LINE. GOODBYE DOUBT.
2: HELLO BROOKLYN. GOODBYE FEAR.
3. HELLO SPECTATORS. GOODBYE NERVES.
4. HELLO LITTLE WATER CUPS. GOODBYE ANXIETY.
5. HELLO SUNSET PARK. GOODBYE UNCERTAINTY.
6. HELLO HEADWIND. GOODBYE GOOD ENOUGH.
7. HELLO COLD. GOODBYE CYNICISM.
8. HELLO WARM NUMBNESS. GOODBYE PAIN.
9. HELLO DON’T STOP NOW. GOODBYE ARROGANCE.
10. HELLO POUNDING HEART. GOODBYE OVERCONFIDENCE.
11. HELLO WILLIAMSBURG HIPSTERS. GOODBYE GIVING UP.
12. HELLO LITTLE POLAND. GOODBYE THE EASY WAY OUT.
13. HELLO HALFWAY POINT. GOODBYE OBSTACLES.
14. HELLO QUEENS. GOODBYE PESSIMISM.
15. HELLO ROOSEVELT ISLAND. GOODBYE COMFORT ZONE.
16. HELLO MANHATTAN. GOODBYE APATHY.
17. HELLO FIRST AVENUE CROWDS. GOODBYE CRAMPING.
18. HELLO DAUNTING HILLS. GOODBYE COASTING.
19. HELLO WALL. GOODBYE EGO.
20. HELLO THE BRONX. GOODBYE STRUGGLE.
21. HELLO MADISON AVE. GOODBYE DEMONS.
22. HELLO CENTRAL PARK. GOODBYE WEAKNESS.
23. HELLO ADORING FANS. GOODBYE PREVIOUS BEST.
24. HELLO BEAUTIFUL DOWN HILL. GOODBYE LIMITATIONS.
25. HELLO ALMOST THERE. GOODBYE DISBELIEF.
26. HELLO FINISH LINE. GOODBYE OLD ME.
.2 HELLO NEW YORK. GOODBYE GIVING UP!

Isnt that great??!! read-repeat

AWESOME!!! So excited!! Im overwhelmed with excited nerves, happy thoughts and anxiousness for race day....
*****Be back this week with my Bib #, Start time, and all important details for race day!!! keep posted!!!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxo
Lee

Monday, October 12, 2009

less than 3 weeks...

Since we have officially started our taper, we cut down our Saturday long run to 15 miles. This past saturday, included the last 10 miles of the marathon course. Being so close to the marathon, this run was to be at a relaxed pace and to understand the feeling of the last 10 miles and the "surprises" that lay ahead of us on the big day. We ran from Central Park, cross-town, across the Queensboro Bridge, turned around and began the last 10 miles of the course. Back over the Queensboro Bridge, down First Avenue through Harlem and up to the Willis Avenue Bridge, over the bridge and into the boogie down Bronx. WE ran down Bruckner Boulevard to the Madison Avenue Bridge, over the bridge and onto Fifth Avenue into Manhattan. Down Fifth avenue, we experienced the Hill of Doom!! the 1-mile steady uphill from 110th street to 90th street. OUCH!! If you dont know that hill is there, it will kill you!!! Luckily, I ran a good stretch with Evan (whose ran the NYC marathon) and gave us tips along the course to get us through the race with ease. He warned us of this wretched hill and said he would avise to conserve some energy because it can beat you up. Good call Evan! That was torture! From 90th street, its a steady flat or downhill course through the park to the finish...

Its incredible to think that even though we ran the last leg of the marathon, Im not really scared of the race. I am actually extremely excited and cant wait for it to finally be here. Seems like yesterday, I was running the half marathon and still was unsure whether I would be able to do the full marathon. Now, I am so happy I committed to the full!!! This has been such a journey; mentally and physically.

Over the past week, I have become in tuned with things that really motivate me. I have become obsessed with the new Asics marathon marketing campaign (thanks Madrigal for sharing it with me!!!!) I find lyrics to songs extremely inspirational and uplifting. And I cant help but talk about anything marathon related whether its our marathon day clothes, what I have been eating (yes, food refernece again), my aches and pains, what I am doing after the marathon, and what my plan of attack is from here on out.

Last piece of business - I am so happy all of you who have contributed to Team for Kids! Its been a wonderful experience learning about and raising funds for running programs for kids who dont have phys ed programs or extra curricular activities in the city. We've had the chance to see these kids hard at work and run with them which makes running with Team for Kids so great!
I am about $250.00 short of my Goal... Please help me get there. The deadline is this Friday October 16th.

ENTRY # 427200

https://www.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/start.cgi/mar-programs/nyrrf/team/2009/donations.htm

Thursday, October 8, 2009

less than a month....

As many of you know, its really coming down to the wire now! Ill give you a round-up of my longest run thus far...

Last Saturday, I ran 21 miles. We were supposed to run 23 total, but after 21, I felt pretty confident on race day I can do the other 5 no problem so I stopped there to avoid injury. I am too close to the end of this journey to want to or need to run into any problems. The idea of Saturday's run was to simulate the feel of the crowds of the marathon and to get your body used to running hills and Central Park, since the last 6 miles of the race are through the Park. We ran 8 miles on the GORGEOUS SCENIC BRIDLE PATH and then continued up to the 72nd St Transverse and flowed right into the Half Marathon, Grete's Gallop. Yes, you heard right, 8 miles and then a Half Marathon. At this point, our pace groups are pretty divided and I have been running consistenly with the same few people. (Hopefully marathon day, we can keep eachother close by for company!!!) Running 2 loops of Central Park is HAAAAARD! It is all rolling hills and running up the West Side and down the East Side seems so much harder than taking on the steepest 2 hills Cat's hill and Harlem Hill running the opposite direction. On my 2nd loop of the Half, I lost Anisha. She is my go-to girl to run. We pace eachother pretty well so to lose my right hand girl at the hardest part of the race was tough. Thats alright, Jonathan found me at mile 11. Phew! He pushed me through the end of the race and we finished remarkably well for running 8 previous miles! I ran it in 1:55:50. Thats only a minute slower than the NYC Half I actually "raced" in August.

You know, its not so much about nerves and the doubt of being able to finish the marathon anymore, its about actually doing it. Marathon day is so close but yet still so far away. After Saturdays run, we have officially started our taper to the big day. Now I am focused on keeping in shape, eating right, having fun with the great friends I have made, and hitting my fundraising goal. Now more than ever, I am addicted to reading up on all sorts of running related articles. Whether it comes to food (I MEAN COME ON, DID YOU EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT??), shoes, workout/crosstraining routines, and of course peoples experiences in running.

Check out the marathon website, its so insprational. http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/

If it wasnt for all of you following me, I dont think I would have made it this far! You all have boosted my confidence ten-fold and am excited to finally run my first marathon! I cant wait for November 1st when I cross that finish line and say, "I did it!" I hope to see you all at the finish line or along the way cheering me on! It is the day after Halloween folks, so continue the party please! I expect you all out there with drinks in hand!!! (and one waiting for me at the finish of course) =)

'Till next week...
Lee

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

20 Miles and Sunday Funday!

Okay okay... I know I am way behind and your all wondering if I completed the 20 mile run on Sunday, right??? Well... I DID!!!!

So, whats it like? Well to be honest... alot of motion. Its nothing like I expected. Yes, it was a ridiculously hard run, and I thought I was going to feel like hell during and after I finished, and I didnt! Before Sunday, 16 miles was the longest distance I have ever run and I thought that run was much harder. Granted, I ran in Central Park and battled the hills on the 16 miler, but 20? I never would have fathomed running 20 miles in my life before! I figured, the best way to tackle this 20 mile run would to rest up and just not think about it. If I thought about it, I know I would have psyched myself out. (hmmm.. I find myself flashing back to swimming again!!! DONT PSYCH YOURSELF OUT!)

So, I approached my 20 miler like this - Saturday, relaxed and made a way wicked awesome Lasagne, watched Patrick Swayze (R.I.P) movies and just chilled on the couch. Oh how it was difficult to stay in on such a beautiful night in the city! Considering it was the last official weekend of the summer, you couldnt ask for nicer weather and yep, my dedication to the marathon kept me "chillin" on my couch, ha! But thats okay... I got to enjoy the weather on Sunday from sun up to sundown and beyond...

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at 5:45, yess!!! I got to sleep an hour later than all those Upper East Siders who always get to sleep in when we run in the Park, wohoo! Still not thinking about all the horrible things that could go wrong on this run, I ate my banana 2 pieces of dry toast and a salt packet (breakfast of champions, huh?) and headed for Brooklyn. Madrigal and I hopped on the 4 train headed to Flatbush Ave and got off the Borough Hall stop in Brooklyn to find a bunch of fellow teammates wandering around trying to figure out what way to go... after walking in about 6 circles and looking at maps on our Blackberries and IPhones, we figured it out and found Cadman Plaza and the team. Sunday, everyone seemed especially awake and talking about how nervous they were, how they hoped they had enough Gu's or Shot Blockers or if they drank enough water. What was I thinking? I was thinking, dont let all these people who are all worked up break my mentality. I got my Powergels and my Gu Chomps. Thats all I need and I know I drank enough water.

Finally... after a quick warm up and discussion of the course, we broke into our groups and headed for our journey... over the Brooklyn Bridge, down the FDR past the Staten Island Ferry, through Battery Park and up the west side allllllllllllllll the way to the George Washington Bridge (and the little red Lighthouse, of course) and back to the Boat Basin at 72nd Street. Phew! Thats a mouthful!

My group consisted of the 9-9:30 miler's lead by Coach Brian who, by the way has a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states while taking photos. Who does that!? Anyways, back to the run... The idea is to be able to hold a good pace throughout the first 15 miles of the run, and then, if you have anything left you can pick up your pace. Mile 1 and 2 are always the hardest and thats where I wanted to appreciate the run the most. Up and onto the Brooklyn Bridge, the views were amazing! Clear blue skies, they NYC Skyline, the ferries, the copters, the views of the East River and Statue of Liberty - REMARKABLE!
After the 2 initial miles, I can feel my legs and body loosen up and get in motion. Over the bridge, into Manhattan and through battery park were a breeze. Onto the Hudson River Park path and along the Jersey City views, it became difficult to keep that 9:15 min pace. Everyone was warmed up and felt great so it was much easier to want to run faster. Good thing we have Claudia with us! She is so good about keeping at pace so she constantly yelled at us, "your going too fast!" "slow down!" at one point, I think she even pulled my arm and looked me dead in the face telling me to take it down a notch! it is so easy to get carried away and want to sprint it out at mile 5,6,7 but then realizing that we arent even at the half way point, it was great to know that Claudia was going to stick to that 9 minute or so pace.

Finally... after running down the west side to what seemed to be endless, we come to our halfway point at the Boat Basin. This is where the group split up into 2 smaller ones. after sucking down some water, a powergel and praying my stomach doesnt turn sour, we ventured on the second half of our journey to 178th Street - The George Washington Bridge and the "little red Lighthouse" under the bridge. Let me just tell you how deceivingly close that bridge seems when your at 80th st. When your at 125th street, it looks just as close as it did at 80th. Ugh! still another 60 or so streets to go! As much as it seemed to take forever to get to our infamous landmark, I got to see so many parts of the city I have never seen before. We ran along the west side highway, past where the Cruise ships dock, past the Intrepid (which is enourmous!), and past the Fairway Market at 125th where all I can think about is Dinosaur BBQ which is right across the street! Oh how I love that place!

Knowing that the bridge is approaching; Matt, Anisha and I contemplated our plan of attack for the last 5 miles. The 3 of us felt pretty awesome being about 14 miles into our journey so we decided to pick it up a notch for the last 5 miles...

Finally!!! The little red lighthouse is in sight! We run up the dirt path under the GW and touch the lighthouse and break free from the group. 5 miles left at this point and most of it is straightaways with one hill. We booked it! We ran the last 5 miles at 8:22 pace, thats almost a full minute faster than the previous 15. Who knew listening to Claudia whenever she said we were going way too fast would pay off in the end... thanks Clau for being our pace nazi! Ahh, and we finish! What an incredible feeling knowing I just ran 20 miles and I feel like I didnt over-exert myself. Yeah I was tired, but to know I just accomplished something I never even dreamed I would do, was such an exhilarating feeling. Total time to complete 20.25 miles = 3:05.22 - and that includes all our water/regroup stops. What a confidence booster for the marathon. Will I break 4 hours? You bet I will!!

So, what does a girl do after running 20 miles on a Sunday morning??? Brunch of course! Its Sunday, Sunday Funday! If you asked me where we went to eat, I couldnt tell ya... all I cared about was food and bloody marys flowing. Yep! Instead of rehydrate, dehydrate more! liquor please! Sacrificing a social life to run turns into catching up after the run! After brunch, Madrigal and I headed home to shower and hit the town again. Football was on and bars were crawling with people, so we met up with Cristina drank a couple of pitchers of beer while watching the end of the 1 o'clock and beginning of 4 o'clock games and then headed uptown to yet again to meet fellow TFK'ers. Matt and Sondra were nice enough to invite a bunch of us up to their rooftop to BBQ and watch the games. Sometimes I feel like my Running teammates are like my work teammates - I see more of them than I do my own family. But, then again... they are family now, my running family. After another wonderful day spend hanging with my teammates drinking, eating, swearing at the tv... it was time to call it a day... Monday was only a few hours away and I was dreading it already...

20 miles - check
football - check
foood - check
enjoy the awesome last weekend of summer - check
bed - check

another day in the RUNNING life of lee.. leesh.. ap.. blondie.. whatever you call me..

taking it easy for a bit...

lee

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fashion's night out - oh, and a 12 mile run




I have lived in NYC for 2 years now and can honestly say, I dont do any of those touristy things here... Why? who knows! I guess because I think Im a New Yorker? Well, thursday was Fashion's Night Out. Fashion's Night Out was awesome! It was a night where retailers looked to restore consumer confidence, and celebrate fashion on the eve of the 8th anniversary of 9-11. Strolling the streets of SoHo with Claudia, we walked in and out of retail stores all night drinking Champagne and cocktails, eating chocolates, and browsed the new fashion collections. It was so diva of us! Everyone was dressed to the Nines and was anxious to be in the stores that were hosting events and concerts. Okay, so picture something out of the movies, all the stores opened up with maitre 'd type people greeting you in the doorways, d-jays pumping music, cocktail waitresses at your disposal with drinks and hors 'd vours at your fingertips!









On our little touristy adventure, Claudia and I got the chance to meet Michael Kors and Debra Messing! Sipping cocktails in Michael Kors, we had the opportunity to meet Michael and have our pictures drawn by him! It was so cool! He's from Long Island believe it or not... and he used to draw characactures at birthday parties when he was "much" younger... and yes, he did emphasize the much part. As we ventured from Michael to Prada, to Theory, to all different little boutiques, Claudia and I couldnt figure what all the hoopla was about at Intermix.. so we decided to dive into the crowd and see what the fuss was... to our surprise, Anna Wintour was being escorted in as we push through the crowd! She guest appeared at Intermix.. darn it! why didnt we know before? I would have loved to see what she was doing there... oh well I got to see what she really looks like up close - thats exciting enough for me!!!





We had so much fun surrounded by all the glamour of the fashion world! I am so happy we got to go out all pretty and not in our running clothes. We were real people in normal clothes... haha!!











aaaand then Saturday came up quick... Instead of trecking it back up to Van Courtlant park in the Bronx again, Claudia and I decided to sleep in late and run in the park. SUCH A GREAT DECISION! So, we slept in and met at 8 am (yes 8 am is late for us now, isnt that pathetic?!?) at 96th street and ventured into the park. Yep, back to the park! another field trip scheduled, and we bailed to run in the park! Big change in scenery this time though - we ran a loop on the road of the park. 6 miles of non-bridle path running! wohoo! Talk about excitement! After the 6 on the road we headed to the bridle path to finish up the run. It was actually really nice! It was remarkably cooler and less humid than many Saturdays when we do our long runs, so with ease we finished our 12 miles, sweet!!






I did notice there was a substantial amount of people running in the park this weekend... ITS CRUNCH TIME TO THE MARATHON!!! Not only was there the Mind, Body, and Fitness 4 mile race, but there were numerous running groups working together. Pretty cool! Pretty scary! I cant believe how quickly November 1st is creeping up! from today, there is 46 days until the big day! Ohhh I dont feel prepared... yikes!



This saturday will be the real test. We are running 20 miles on Sunday. Wow, 20 miles! Whatever.... BRING IT! I can do this!

'till next time!

Lee

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Theres a first time for everything

As the old saying goes, "theres a first time for everything".

Tonight, I had a first all right. While running the reservoir in the park, I inhaled a bug! yup! Sucked it right in. Right into my mouth and, gulp, yep, it went right down. You know, bugs have flown into my forehead, my eye, maybe hit me in my lip but never actually caught one in my mouth. So, after this protein fortified snack, I got to thinking of all the firsts I have encountered this year training for the marathon.

Joining Team for Kids was the first group I joined since moving to NYC

Its the first time I didnt feel shy meeting new people (and I love each and every TFK'er Ive gotten to know)

First time I ever heard of AND ran the Bridle Path (and surely wont be the last!)

Ran my first New York Road Runners race

Ran my first Half Marathon

Realized that pedicures were a waste of money

Gained 10 lbs and its the first time I didnt freak out about gaining weight

First time I gave up my friday night social life so I can run @ 7:00 am on Saturdays.

It was the first time I ran 12 miles in the rain and didnt want to turn around and go home

I bought my first pair of running shorts, moisture wicking shirts, and my first pair of running sneakers that were "proper" running sneakers.

I realized how much I really do love running

I experienced my first Ice Bath (yes, thats a bath filled with ice and I like it!)

Add today to the list... FIRST TIME I SWALLOWED A BUG!!

Im about 6 weeks away from the marathon, yikes! But Im sure I will have many other firsts... keep posted!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

What is the real definition of Labor Day? Ahh Google, gotta love Google. According to my Google search, Labor Day "is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." (US Dept of Labor) And, believe it or not, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City in 1882.

Why did I ask what the definition of the day was? well... because I decided to take some days off and wanted to make sure I was celebrating my days "Labor Free". Well, sorta anyways...


Although I took thursday and friday off from work so I can play, I still had to get some serious mileage under my belt. Thursday I was supposed to do a 4-6 mile run, but that failed to happen because my dear friend Whitney told me we were headed up to the Giants/Pat's preseason game in Foxboro! Wohoo! Thanks Whit!!! It was totally worth skipping my run. Especially those Chili-Cheese Fries we devoured. Hey Whit, dont look at them making it, just think about how good they will be, haha!



Friday... what did I do friday? oooh, right! I got my hair cut, FINALLY! So, did I run, you ask? NOPE! I got a fresh new style, why would I mess up that awesome blowdry? I can never get my hair to look as nice as it does when I get it done, I dont want my sweat to mess it up.Yep, call me a Princess, but I didnt pay all that money to mess it up. So, Instead, I rode my bike. I rode from my house down to the Farmington Canal entrance by my parents, scooped up Mike, Whitney's significant other and rode all the way through Hamden and Cheshire to the end of the trail and back home. It was awesome, nice and cool out and I forgot how much I missed my bike...
After my bike ride, I decided to go back to the city to run on saturday morning. I knew that if I wanted to stay on track with marathon training, I would have to make sure I ran the 16 miles that was outlined for us to do. Anisha was my lifesaver! If it werent for her to email me on friday and ask if I wanted to run with her, I would have moaned and groaned and tried to do it by myself here in good 'ol H-Town. I highly doubt I would have done the 16 if I stayed here. So, after sleeping in my own bed, I got up and met Anisha at 7 am by the 62nd St entrance of Central Park. We did a quick stretch and headed for the road. We decided to follow the outlined workout and complete one loop around the park on the road and then 2 2.7 loops of the Bridle Path (the dirt path). We chit-chatted it up the whole time and kept great pace with one another. After our loop around the park, we headed up the Bridle Path. It sounds like it wouldnt be so bad, but transitioning from hard pavement to dirt and gravel is a difficult adjustment. We felt ourselves getting pretty sluggish not speaking on the hill climbs and then telling eachother how much we love the downhills. We saw many other TFK'ers running with partners through the park as well... kinda funny to see everyone off on their own and not practicing all together. We said our Hi's and gave eachother words of support and kept on our 16 mile journey. By mile 14, Anisha and I were pretty hurting. We knew we only had half a loop left and a nice downhill left to the bottom of the Bridle Path, but our legs were tired and heavy and the aches and pains were starting to set in. When it was all over, we looked at eachother and were so happy we did it. You know, after it was all said and done, it wasnt so bad. We both accomplished our longest runs ever and we didnt stop once, well except to get water of course! That's a great accomplishment. Kudos to us! at 10:00 am, our 16 miler was over, and we had our whole days and weekend ahead of us! Wohoo! BBQ's and Parties were on my mind!
The remainder of the weekend flew by! BBQ saturday night, Sunday a Brunch for Brian's Coast Guard Graduation, Lunch with Nan, BBQ at the Simone Family's, Yardan's beach house/bonfire. Here, there, and everywhere!
Today, It was a great feeling to sleep in and know I didnt have to "Labor" and can just relax! And, for the most part I did that... other than the 5.5 miler I did this morning. After perennial flower shopping with my Pops, I hit the pavement and pounded out my daily work out so I can enjoy my day before getting back to the grind in the morning.

So, Labor Day is a great day after all. Thank you U.S. Dept of Labor for making this day a holiday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

10 weeks 'till the big day



Here goes... 10 weeks 'till November 1st. 60 Days. Oh wow!




Instead of writing about some run I have done this week, I feel like I need to talk about something else...


I want to shout it out to my fellow TFK'ers! I have had such a wonderful experience so far, and it couldnt have been this much fun without meeting the wonderful people who have been on this journey too. In the beginning, we all shared our reasons to run the marathon and how we became apart of Team for Kids; now, we meet every monday, wednesday and saturday and chit chat away the time with what we did last weekend and our plans for the upcoming weekend. We ask eachother for their opinoion on things, share embarrasing stories, and of course our good stories. I look forward to our meetings and am happy to call all the great people, MY FRIENDS.


On the flip side, I have neglected my non-running friends. Sorry guys and gals, its not intentional, but this running stuff really takes up alot of time... I appreciate all the support you have given me, you really are true friends! it means the world to me that you are interested in the amount of mileage I have done, what races I have done, and how my fundraising is going. All those times I said I would make it out or do something and then call and tell you Im way to tired to even think about thinking, I appreciate you for understanding. ... and... well I hate to break it to ya, it 'aint over yet... 60 days, remember!!




Who knew that running was a lifestyle? Its like swimming all over again; everything I do is based around running, HA! At least Im having fun!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

14-miler on "the Bridle Path!"

I know I am a little behind in my blog entries... but bear with me, its the summer! I gotta have some fun when Im not running, right?!

Anyways, Last saturday, we had our weekly "Long Run". Where do you ask? Oh, on the spectacular Bridle Path in Central Park. I think this is the first time I have brought up the "Bridle Path" but its not the first time we have ran it, nor will it be the last... It sounds like this beautiful trail, which it is except when you run it every monday and wednesday and well... saturdays too (when we dont have a field trip planned on saturdays).

So, this past saturday we ran at 7 am in the rain. We met at our "alternate" TFK meeting spot and got ready for our 14 miles through the park. I was torn with which group I should run with. I have been improving every week and feel as if I am stuck between 2 pace groups; the 9-10 min milers and the 8-9 min milers. I started with the 9-10 min group and pulled ahead with John and Sarah. We kept a steady pace throughout the whole 14 miles. John and I decided our goal was to keep the 8-9 min milers in our sight since we both are working hard to one day be apart of that pace group. The rain in the first half of the practice was a blessing believe it or not! When the rain went away, and the sun tried to come out, it was a hot and muggy one! But all-in-all, it was a great practice!

Of course we finished it off with a little breakfast and Coach Glen joined us! We shared stories and ailments that we all have and he gave his insight on them. I told him how my heartburn seems to act up more now than ever and he told me that our stomach acids definitely rise with the more intense workouts we have and that eating hot sauce on my eggs drinking coffee and hitting up a bodega for a piece of chocolate is just going to make it worse! Oh well! thats what Tums are for, right? Thanks Glen for looking out for me!

Oh, and just so you know... I didnt stop and get that piece of chocolate, I waited until the wedding I went to on Saturday to have my chocolate fix... mmm.... cake!

And that was another typical Saturday, a day in the life of Lee...

'Till next time,
Lee

Monday, August 17, 2009

NYC Half Marathon!!!



I DID IT! I RAN THE HALF MARATHON!!! What an experience!

So, where do I start... well... lets start from the beginning... Last week seemed to drag on and on. Not only was I anxious for Sunday, I didnt feel well. My allergies (yes, my allergies in this concrete city) were killing me! I ate more vitamins last week than I have in my life. I didnt want to get a cold. The whole week, I took it easy. Well.. aside from Tuesday. Tuesday we had a TFK dinner party (thanks to Ren who organized and hosted in his ridiculously awesome midtown condo!) which was a pretty late night. Good times getting to know everyone outside of our running lives. Friday and Saturday, I relaxed, soaked up some sun and went to bed early both nights. Saturday, I made a killer lasagne again. This was definitely the best one I have ever made! mmm... Right Jackie!!!

Ohhh... Sunday... you finally came! At 4 am, my alarm goes off. Its very dark out, not a car or person to be heard on the streets. around 4:45, we waited on the subway platform with many other Half Marathoners all of which looked as tired and bleary eyed as me. 5:30 we meet our team at Engineers Gate at 90th St to drop our bags off. Its amazing how the city is asleep... well aside from those night hawks who are walking home from thier night out, and the me walking to the park to run 13.1 miles. I meet my teammates, grab my water, snap a few photos, grab my energy packs and head off with the team to our stretching/warm-up spot.

6:00 we are stretching and our coaches are telling us how to run the race - "dont take it out too early, you will die out there, its hot out and you want to have energy at the end" "Hold back, dont weave in and out of the crowds too much, save your energy." "Let people pass you, dont get frustrated. You will be passing them all later." "Take the hills in the park easy, remember - short strides, pump those arms - thats what will get you up those hills."

6:45 we are in our corrals awaiting the start. About 10 of 7, the national anthem is sung and we slowly progress to the starting line. I eat my Gu (an energy fuel gel) and shake out my legs which were tense with excitement. At 7am, the gun goes off and the race begins!!!! wow! My heart is pounding with excitement and I am still about 6,000 people from the start! I cross the start just over 5 minutes after the official start. I set my watch and begin my first ever Half Marathon! Through the park, I kept a really good pace. My goal was to stay around a 9-min mile and then book it when I got out of the park. For my first race, I did pretty well! I kept around that pace throughout the park! Go me!

The excitement of the crowds was incredible! Seeing teammates on the sidelines cheering me on! Seeing all the kids cheering us on, seeing people who I never met cheering me on! The experience alone of the enthusiasm and support of everyone who came out to watch was incredible!! People were giving out Hi-Fives all over the place! how cool! Around the park I go, up those dreaded hills of Harlem, and back down towards 7th Ave. After running the park so many times, I couldnt have been more excited to finally get out of the park and run the streets of Manhattan! Rounding the bend to the entrance to 7th Ave, I see a fellow TFK'er snapping pictures, "Smile Alicia, your doing great!" - thanks Evan! it gave me the extra boost I needed to blast through the race! Once on 7th Ave, the runners really had a chance to spread out and do thier thing. This was my chance to really pick it up, and I did! Flying down 7th ave, I see Cristina cheering me on!!! Yaaay! Thanks friend for coming out to support Jackie and I!!!! :) Into Times square, the music is playing, there are people dancing and tons of people cheering everyone on! I felt somewhat like a celebrity, LOL! All eyes on me, and well alot of other people too, but still... it was pretty awesome to be running down the middle of 7th and 42nd! Onto the dreaded 42nd st - this is where I started to hit a wall. Mile 9 and 10 were the hardest miles! My legs began to feel like Jello. My knees started to tighten up. I started to get mental and thought that everything the Dr told me was coming true (that I would never run a marathon). And then there was this lady in her Car stuck in traffic on 42nd. She was hanging out her window yelling, "your doing great! keep it up! come on! you can do it!" That random lady brought the biggest smile to my face! At the next fluid station, I grabbed a gatorade and ran under the misting station... perfect... a little pick-me-up and I felt my confidence come back!

Rounding the corner to the West Side Hwy, the musics pumpin and the sun is blaring! Here I am - my home turf! I have run this road a million times!!! I told myself, 'you know where you are, you know how much energy you need to get down to Rector St, do it!' and of course I reminded myself I had the most important person in my life at the finish waiting for me, my Dad! A few water and misting stations later, I am under the footbridge at Chambers street and I know I have a half mile left!!! You can hear the finish line, the music and the announcers, so what more motivation would you need? So Close! I give it all I got (while trying to spot my dad out in the crowd) and book it for the finish! There's DAD! Cherring me on right at the finish... I look up - 1:59.34 the race clock ticks... and here I go again... Im not letting it turn 2 hours!!! I cross in 1:59.48 under 2 hrs!!!! I hit my pace watch and look... 1:53.53 nice! and I remembered I started it about a minute late... 1:54!!! wohoo!!!

After we cross the finish, theres a progression of treats! Ice cold wet towels to cool yourself off, water, gatorade, pretzels, apples, almonds AND THE ALL IMPORTANT MEDALS! I find my dad, and of course he cant congratulate me enough and tell me how proud he is of me! I was so happy he was there to share this experience with me! I bring him over to the TFK tent, and introduce him to the all my fellow TFK'ers and make him tag along for brunch!

At brunch, my teammates and I all shared our experiences from the race and looked up our final times while sipping some much deserved bloody mary's and mimosas and some grub. Rehydration and replehishment!!! mmm... delish! Oh, and it was Dimitri's Birtday, so we surprised him with a piece of cake and sang happy birthday! What a great day!

Thanks my fellow Team for Kids runners and dad! If it wasnt for you all, the day wouldnt have been as special! All the support from my friends and family was such a great motivation! Thank you so much! Now... WE GO FOR THE FULL MARATHON! November 1st is just around the corner!!! Keep checking back! Its just going to get better and more exciting now!!!

xoxo
Lee

Monday, August 10, 2009

Team Championships


I had my best race ever on saturday!

My morning started off as it has been these past few weekends; bright and early, a banana, and a train ride somewhere. Saturday was the NYRR Team Championships, and according to Coach Frank, this was one of the more competitive races of the year. It was a 5 mile race through central park. Doesn't sound like it would be intense, right? Well it was. As Coach Frank explained, the most competitive runners take this race seriously - as it gives the team with the best results "bragging" rights. For what? I'm still not sure, but it was so much fun!

Jackie and I made it up to the park for 7:30 am, which was 2 and a half hrs before our race even started. The men started at 9 and the women at 10. Although it was early, we got to see the men and those who opted for the 10 mi practice warm up and hit the street. We got to cheer on our mens team as they did their 5 mile race. At 9:15, the women racers did our 1 mi warm up and stretch and headed over to the start for our 10 am start...

After "God Bless America", the horn blows and off we go! Our teammates that didn't run the race were running the opposite of the race, cheering us on, "yeah Team for Kids!" "Great job Alicia and Maggie, keep it up!" For the first mile, my running partner and I ran under 8:30. Good pace.. Letting lots of people pass, we knew they would be sucking wind in about 2 miles and we decided this pace was good. Mile 2--negative split. About half a minute. Wow! Feeling great I decided to keep this pace and kept it up through mile 3. Mile 3--another negative split? Nice! Mile 4 and 5, I really concentrated on keeping it steady, I felt great and my knees were holding well so I said to myself, "don't kill yourself Lee!"next weekend is the half marathon! Rounding the bend, approaching engineers gate I hear tons of people cheering and clapping! What a rush! Down into the home stretch, I hear my name and tons of people cheering for TFK! it was so cool to see and hear all of your teammates cheering you on! Approaching that finish line, I see the pace clock ticking 39:50.... 39:55, 39:56, 39:57... And I cross! Under 40 minutes! And I still get to minus the time before I crossed the start, wohoo! Before I crossed, all I could think about was Coach Frank's speech about holding back your enery in the beginning and saving it for the end. Not only will you be passing all those people who took it out way too fast in the beginning, but most importantly, 3:59.59 is better than 4:00.01. And boy is that true!

Actual final time:
39:39

Pace/mile:
7:55

Cant wait for next weekend!! NYC half Marathon, bring it baby!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Long Training Run - Longest run ever!

This past saturday, I ran the longest distance I have ever ran in my life! We ran 14.5 miles! OUCH! On Friday night, in preparation of my furthest run ever, I made a delicious lasagne! Yep, from scratch! I ate a 6x6 square of it to try and fill myself up as much as I could since I would be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, 5:30 am. By 9:30pm, I was past out cold.


Beep Beep Beep! the alarm goes off at 5:30 and Im so confused... I wake up stare at the clock and realize that I am waking up on a Saturday about an hour before I normally would on a work day. Blurry eyed, I stumble into the bathroom pop in my contacts, wash my face and brush my teeth... aaah! Jackie waits for me by the door because I am always holding us up. By 6:10 am we are on the platform waiting for the train, and to our surprise, the platform was not loaded with bums or the type of people that would leave me clintching my mace. Everyone was runners all headed up to the park for the 2nd NYRR Long Training Run.

CRAP! its 6:30! The TFK meeting time was 6:30 at 103rd St on the East Side of the park! At 86th St, Jackie and I run off the train and up to the street to jump into the first cab we see. "103rd and 5th please, by the entrance to the park" We run over to our meeting spot to find out that the whole team registered for the Long Training Run, and that we can still register too. We run over to the registration tent, register, grab our bibs and head to find our pace groups. I find my group and my "running buddy" Maggie and head over to the start of the 9 minute milers.


Feeling great, I thought to myself that these 11 miles will be a breeze, and Ill definitely be able to finish those last 3 on the bridle path with the team. By mile 9, I felt my knee start to ache. By mile 11 at the bridle path turnoff, I thought for sure that my legs were going to give out from under me. Onto the bridle path, I was sucking some major wind and thought for sure this dirt path was going to be the death of me! Finally, the lap around is coming to a close, I see Eric (one of our TFK coaches). Instead of saying, head back to our meeting spot, he said to go down to Engineers gate and turn around and run back to our meeting spot. Oh Eric! you have no idea - but at that moment, you were my least favorite person. The run comes to a close, and I head over to get some bananas and then to the medical tent to have my knees wrapped in ice. What an experience! I just ran 14.5 miles! never in my life did I ever think I would do that!!

So what do you do after you have ran this much??? EAT OF COURSE!! A group of us decided to hit up brunch. Off we go!... and then we look at our watches... its 10:15 - no brunch places are open until 11. What to do, what to do... DINER IT IS! Capping off this long run, we ate and shared our stories of the morning and talked about food! mmm...











































Till next time....

Blondie... aka... Lee

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Donation Link

Okay, for some reason, the link to donate for the full Marathon is not working. Please continue to donate using the Half Marathon link. This link still contributes to my goal of $3,000.

https://www.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/start.cgi/aes-programs/nychalf/tfk2009/donations.htm

Entry # 424509
Last Name: PALUMBO

Monday, July 27, 2009

Queens

I lived up to my word! I didn't go out all week! Wow! I feel so productive. I cleaned, I cooked, I rested, I caught up with friends I haven't talked to in weeks. Yep damn proud of myself! But slightly disappointed... Passed up Yanks tix on thursday... AND AGAIN ON FRIDAY! Oh well...

Saturday, we ran at Forest Park in Forest Hills Queens. Bright and early my alarm went off at 6:30am. OUCH! Sleepy eyed, I got dressed, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and choked down a banana.

What happened to my leisurely Saturday mornings when I would roll out of bed, brew a pot of coffee, park my butt on the sofa and chat about whatever mayhem Jackie or I got into the night before? Those are put on hold for now.. Anyways, out to Queens we go! We ran on the bridle path of the park, 4 times around. With a couple of close encounters with some horses, our run was intended to be a 12 mile course calculated out to be 10.5 mi. But Hey! I'm not complaining, that was a great run! This was the farthest I have ever ran continuously, and it felt great! My knees felt great, my quads didn't feel like they were going to pull, and my ankles didn't feel like they were going to give out. Well done Lee!