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,

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!!!


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:


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