Monday, October 27, 2008

Small bit of catch up...

Hi all! Sorry for the no-contact for 6 months! No, there were no restraining orders on the internet, just a crazy 4-hour-a-day commute and then a cross country move. So greetings from my temporary resting place of Massachusetts! Yay for being in New England in the fall! Yay for being closer to most of the family! Yay for gorgeous areas to run in!

Since my last post (bad blogger, bad blogger) I've finished a bunch of races. My brother and sister-in-law and I rocked the Oklahoma City Memorial Half marathon. A great run for a great cause. Fairly flat and lots of support on the race course. Plus, it was televised and we tivoed it and got to see ourselves on tv all sweaty and gross! Never mind that the female winner of the whole mary crossed the finish line about two minutes before I did. At least that's how I got on tv. LOL!

Then after that, I ran a 5k for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. My tailbone was still sore, so no prs or anything, but it felt great to do it and I found a yarn shop to hit after the race. Not a wasted day, that's for sure!

A few weeks later I ran the Hospital Hill Half Marathon which is in Kansas City. I'm telling you, if you love hills, run this race. It was the most insane, hilly race I've seen, but the medal and the shirt were pretty cool and we got a pair of flip-flops for finishing. If it is possible that it was uphill both ways that's exactly what it was! Insane.

After that I trained for the Disneyland half marathon and ran that at the end of August. As a full mary finisher of the WDW marathon, I got a special "bi-coastal finisher medal" for finishing the DL half. That was a lot of fun because my brother and sister-in-law ran it too. It was her first half mary and she kicked butt!

No major races since that but my sister's P and M and myself ran a 5k with the Central Mass Runner's Club (that's not the name, but I just can't think of the right name right now...) It was a lot of fun because we are all running the marathon at DW in January and we all cheered each other on during this training race :)

I'm working up to the Goofy Challenge at Disney World in January. Insane, I know, but it will be fun. It's the half mary on Saturday and the whole mary on Sunday. Then, float around Typhoon Lagoon in a raft on Monday. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Okay, this was just a quick update, I'll post more soon since I'm no longer doing the commute. Keep running!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Just a quick one to go over the plan for the OKC half mary. As I mentioned in my last post I took a spill last week and my tailbone has been a bit sore since then. It's better and less sore every day, but still not 100%. It's so frustrating to get to half mary eve and know I'm not going to be able to go like I want to! GRRR!

However, my brother B was with me at Disney and found me all over the course throughout the nearly 7 hours I was running. He has started running (along with most of my family) and he is doing the OKC half tomorrow as well. We've decided we are going to stick together throughout and we are going to do a combo of walking and running.

The plan is to walk three minutes and run two minutes throughout the race. He has been working really hard to build up his endurance in order to be out there on the road for 13.1 (and eventually Goofy challenge) and he started from doing no physical activity whatsoever. He's started off slow and steady increasing each week and will have no problem walking the 13.1 miles. He has started mixing in some runs throughout his workouts and his longest run has been about a mile and a half straight. With the pattern we are trying, it will be more running than he's done all at once. It should be great!

We are aiming for three hours, but we have no idea what it will be like once we get started. The wind has been fierce the past few weeks and so that may have an effect.

You can go to and check us out. My bib number is H4951 and his is H1413.

My SIL H will be joining us tomorrow as well. She's doing the 5k walk, but they don't give a chip for the 5k. Boo!!! We had a really great time at the expo today. She and I got bondi-bands in matching colors. Her's has 5k on it and mine has 13.1. B got one too and it says ENDURANCE, but he didn't want the girly blue that we picked out. Still very cool.

Hopefully we'll do you all proud tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains...

Okay, so it's not just Kansas that is windy. This weekend we (my brother B, my SIL H and I) will be running in Oklahoma City. B and I the half and H the 5k. But, the forecast said 15mph winds throughout the race! Can't I escape the blasted stuff!!! I need to move somewhere where there isn't this wind.

Anyway, not much to report. I took a little tumble in my house last Friday (don't unwind a phone cord while walking backwards just after DH vaccuumed and moved stuff around so that you trip over it while you are walking backwards and unwinding the phone cord) and I havn't run in a week. I fell pretty hard smack on me bum and my tailbone is sore. Well, not so much my tailbone as right where the tailbone hits the big ole bruise that I now have there. I've done a bit of walking trying to work through the owies, and today I thought I'd get to go for a run, but it didn't happen thanks to the rockin storms we get this time of year.

I know I'm not as prepared as I should be for OKC, but I'll take a sore bum for a week if it means that hubby did the vaccuuming. LOL! I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kansas wind blows!

Last week's family run went better than the week before. We had a lot more people running with us. And, I was actually able to get the hubby up to run with me. We have been together for almost 8 years and I think I've only ever seen him run for the sake of running one time. He used to play soccer as a child until he broke his leg. He sometimes goes to see a local soccer team and he says he's "training" with them, but really he's talking and being an armchair coach. He's just not a runner.

This week, however, it was 60 degrees so he figured he'd go out with me and Gary and contribute some miles. Can I just say how much it drives me crazy that someone who has only run once in 8 years can go out and run like it's nothin'?!? Our first mile was faster than my normal pace by about a minute and he was doing it like he's been running for years. Gah! I know I can't compare myself but it ticked me off a bit. But on the other hand, I liked it because it made me pick up my pace and push myself more than normal.

What made it a semi-sweet victory though, was when we turned onto the last road before we got back to the house and he was like "okay, I need to stop, I'm tired" and I said "no way! We've been running into the wind and now that the wind will be pushing us, we ain't stopping." Then I kept running and he ran for a bit but stopped and walked the last part. It was a little victory because I felt like I could have gone on and on, but he was done. So I was a little less ticked because I could have beat him on the endurance factor if not necessarily the speed factor.

I did get a run in the day before as well, but the wind is driving me crazy this time of year. I just never stops and feels like you are running into a wall for the whole thing. I can see why early settlers to the plains would go crazy from the constant wind!

The commute continues, but the job is awesome! It's just the kind of thing I like to do. But, the sitting all day is making my legs mad at me. My IT bands after a few hours ache and are starting to talk to the rest of the body to start a rebellion. At least I work on the 14th floor and today I made the resolution to take the stairs in the morning when I get there and to get back up after lunch every day. It's strange that with all the running, 14 flights of stairs really was tough! But what a difference it made. My legs were a lot less mad at me.

Also it's *fancy-schmancy* place that I work so I have to wear fancy shoes. I don't know why I can drop $80-$100 bucks on a good pair of running shoes that I wear maybe 10-12 hours a week max, but I won't pay more than $30 for the pairs that I'll wear 40 hours. So, I'm resolved to get me a pair of fancy shoes that my feet and knees and legs will be happy with. If only my puma's were considered fancy wear!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day three of the commute

And my legs are aching for a run! Believe me, the commute won't be long for long. I've signed up to do a 5k as part of the Corporate Challenge that my company competes in. That is on May 10th so I'm planning to be living closer by that time because no way I want to add a day to my commute, even though it's for a good cause!

On Saturday we went out and did the family run and it was amazing! This week we had a ton of family members all across the country going out at different times and then sending out an e-mail as we finished. It started with my brother in Florida, then he passed the torch on to my sisters in Massachusetts and I, then on and on all day. We called it the family relay since it went all throughout the day. It was really great to see the messages roll in with different times and distances from Maine, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Oregon and Kansas. My husband thought he should get some milage for washing the car, but we had to draw the line somewhere right? LOL!

We decided to all start a family blog about our getting fit. Some of us are walkers, runners, bicyclists, water polo players, hockey players, yogis, and a whole slew of different things! We are just trying to keep each other motivated. It's pretty cool. You should go check it out here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just catching up...

Where does the time go?! I'm going through a transition period right now - a good one this time. I'm changing jobs and Monday I start at the new place. I've had a ton of work to do to get ready for it, but I'm almost there. Problem is that I wake up every day looking forward to my run, but then get caught up in clients, paperwork and other wrapping-up drama and I realize it's 7pm and my run didn't get done! I've had pretty low milage the past two weeks and my legs are antsy! I've been doing my yoga, because I can do that even when it's dark out, and it really feels great to be able to hold poses longer and feel a deeper stretch. But really, I just want to be out hanging with Gary and Bill the Buffalo!

Last weekend we did a fun thing. Two of my sister's were on the phone with each other - one in Massachusetts and one in Georgia. They were looking for motivation to run and decided to go for a run together in their own states. They called me and we all went out at the same time. It was awesome. We did it for time and later found out two of our other siblings were running within an hour of that same time.

So this weekend, we've made it an official tradition and we are heading out again. No Georgia this time, but we have Florida and possibly Oregon represented so it will be fun. It's a fun motivation to know you're running with all the same people. We are trying to get our Marine Corps cousin T to run with us, because then we can say we run with Marines on the weekend. How cool is that?

Anyway, I'll be starting a commute to Kansas City next week, which is about 100 miles each way. Hopefully that won't last too long, but we'll see. I'm going to see if there's a place around work where I can try to get in lunchtime runs because I need the road!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zoos and Burpees

Have I mentioned that I love Gary? Last night he took me for a little jaunt to the zoo. Turns out the zoo is almost a mile from the house and then if you run around it and back you can make a nice little 2.5 mile run and check out the buffalo and peacocks along the way. Much better than running by dogs not on leashes.

Today I woke up thinking I had to cross train. I wake up every morning thinking I should cross train and then around 4pm I start thinking "oh, but I really should just run. Isn't that what a marathon consists of? Why should I cross train?" And then I always go out and run. I almost feel into that trap today. I started checking in with some BRFs and the thoughts started coming in.

I went to Toronto Dave's website and he now has voice posts about his runs. He also has a video blog post. How freakin cool is that?! Funny. I knew he was British but somehow when I read his posts I always read them with an American accent. Pretty cool to hear him talking about his run with the cool accent. I wish my accent was that cool. The only thing I'm told is that people can tell when I'm mad because I start talking with a Boston accent.

As much as listening to Toronto Dave talk about his runs made me want to go run, his accent also reminded me of a kick box bootcamp workout video that I have that I sometimes like. The instructor is from Australia - and yes, I know they are not the same accents, but Dave's voice made me think of the video. So, I finally cross trained. I'm pretty happy with it because you use weights so I got some new work for my muscles. But near the end of the video she has us do these things called Burpees. I think most of you may know them as squat thrusts. Neither of those names really appeal to me.

The one problem I have with the Burpees is that after about 5 of them I start laughing so hard I can't stop and then I have to stop doing the dang things because they are pretty much impossible to do when you are laughing like an idiot. It was a fun workout anyway. It wasn't running, but now I can wake up and not have to think about cross training for a few days. Plus, I think Gary missed me today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meet Gary!

My brother and I are going to be running the OKC half marathon at the end of April. My SIL is going to run the 5k that same day. They came up to visit me this weekend and we had a great visit! While I love reading all about running from blogs, magazines, books and anywhere else I can find, it was really encouraging to have them here. We talked about out training and how great it is to see progress being made and everything else running we could think of. It was great because normally the people I see don't want to talk running as much as I do.

B got a Garmin when we went to the running store and got his shoes. H went back to the running store a few weeks later to change her shoes and she picked up a Garmin at that time. I was pretty jealous because these brand-new runners had a Garmin and I just have my $4.98 watch from Walmart to time my runs. But I tried to remain content.

I got a great surprise this weekend though when B&H told me they brought me an early birthday present. My birthday isn't until the end of April (just a few days before OKC) so I was wondering what it could be? IT WAS A GARMIN!!! Sweet! Now I can use it to train for OKC.

I named him Gary, just because it fits him. I love it! I did let DH know very quickly that I'd named him Gary so that in the near future when I say "Gary and I are going out for a while" he wouldn't get jealous. I just read the comments in a BRF's blog from one of his readers and they named their's Paula - so I'm not crazy that I named him. LOL!

Anyway, for those of you who don't know what a Garmin is (Mom, this is for you), it's a Global Positioning System that uses sattelites to track your course. But it's really a lot more than that. He's a bit bigger than a watch, but that's how you wear him. He can track your miles and how fast you are running. You can program him to help you do intervals (walk a minute, run a minute or run a quarter-mile, do a two minute cool-down), beep at you when you drop below a certain pace (helpful when you need to maintain a certain pace for the marathon), download your run onto your computer and analyze how you did (how consistent you ran, how fast, how far), map your run, run wherever you want and tell it to take you back to start, and so much more. It's freakin awesome!!!

I love Gary. He's my new best friend.

With Gary we went out for a run on Saturday and I got 3 miles in. Sunday I did 5. B, H, and I all had our Garmins on and we went our separate ways and relied on them to bring us back. It was great. Now I just want to run all the time and play with my new toy. Just another bonus to Gary. He just doesn't get tired out!

Oh, so let's post some numbers now that we can:
Saturday 3/15/08:
Lap 1: 11:08
Lap 2: 11:01
Lap 3: 13:06

Sunday 3/16/08:
Lap 1: 11:32
Lap 2: 11:38
Lap 3: 11:22
Lap 4: 13:44
Lap 5: 12:28

And here's a running ettiquitte question? When you drive and a funeral procession passes, you pull over by the side of the road and wait to continue on your way until the procession passes by. Do you do that when you run? On Saturday a procession came by and I crossed the street and stopped. Do any of you do that too or do you just keep running?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rambling on

First and foremost, I want to give a shout out to my sister Abby who's hockey team just won the Massachusetts girls Division 2 High School Ice Hockey Championship!!! Abby is an amazing junior and is one of the goalies. The ice hockey program is only 4 years old and they won states. Amazing. Abby, you rock!!!

So back to running.

For the past few weeks I've been trying to get back in to the groove but it's just not been happening. I'm not lacking motivation. I want to get out there and run. But when I do, well, it's hard to explain, but my body just feels all out of whack. I was talking about it with a couple of my siblings the other day and we were discusssing how there's all this material about training for a marathon, but not much on how to deal post marathon. You can't just stop running, but you can't keep on training as hard as before because your tanks are just empty.

So I was trying to figure out what my deal is and trying to figure out how to get back on track. My brother and I are going to be running the Oklahoma City half marathon and my SIL is doing the 5k that day as well. I want to be back on track to put in a good effort for my first half.

I've been feeling like my body just isn't working as a machine when I get out there and run. My heart and lungs feel fine every time, and I have the mental "I know I can do this" attitude, but things just feel off. I feel like I struggle the first mile and then I'm okay for a little bit and then I just have no energy left. I think about my shoes, my shorts, my food, my hair, my motivation, my stress, my job and about 2746593857 other things to try and figure out what the problem is. I've been reading my BRFs, magazines, books and whatever I can to try to get back to *that place* but when I get on the road, nothing works.

I've decided it's a mixture of things:

1. My hair was driving me crazy. May not make sense, but it was getting pretty long and it's really windy here. I usually put it back in a ponytail and it whips around and gives me a headache from all the pulling. So today I took the scissors and cut off about 6 inches. It's pretty curly, so I can't really screw it up. My head feels lighter and mentally, it helped even if it seems ridiculous! Lol!

2. I think my eating is all screwed up. I am married to someone who just doesn't cook. Well, his idea of cooking is inviting me to Burger King, but only when we have coupons! He is also a person who works a pretty physical job and so he feels like only heavy meals will get him through work. Since I don't want to cook double, I just eat what he does. I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm not a huge fan of meat and he is a true carnivore. Eats it with his hands and everything! I eat more meat than I wish I did (but I use a fork and knife.) I'm thinking I need to have a nutrition-a-thon a la Amanda coming up pretty soon and figure out how to fuel up better.

3. I have a tendency when I get in to run mode to just run. I forget about cross training and figure if I'm gonna work out, I should run. I know it's totally wrong, but somehow I can't stop it. It's an all-or-nothing thing and I know it shouldn't be. Ever since my Miguelito spotting I've been reluctant to get on the floor and do crunches (or to open my stove once it's heating up, thanks Zanne!) so my core needs a bit of work.

I've found a great yoga podcast that I'm falling in love with. It's called yogamazing and I love it. You can download it on itunes too. I'm forcing myself to do a bit every day, even if it's just a few minutes. Even that little bit helps me to feel stronger all over and it helps me feel more connected, like my machine is going to start working again.

Oh man!!! Half of my post just got deleted! Stinking outages. I was all set to hit post and now it's gone. That blows!

So now to remember what I typed.

4. I'm bored to tears with my normal running route. I wore that route out training for Disney and now I have no love for it. The dogs behind the fences don't even run up and start yipping at me because they know me along there. At least if I was on the treadmill I could watch tv or something. Geesh!

So today I woke up telling myself not to go for a run and to cross train instead. But around 5 o'clock my legs started itching to get out. Then I realized it was Thursday! What better way to kill the blah of a Thursday than to do Speedwork! Yay for speedwork! It saved me. I ran the first mile at a comfortable pace then when I turned the corner I started running at about 90% for a telephone pole and then kicked it back down to about 60% for two poles and did the next two miles that way. It was awesome! It was just what I needed to break through my blahs. I felt like the speed helped me to get realigned somehow. I paid attention to every muscle as I ran at 90% and made adjustments and then when I kicked back, it felt much better than it has been.

So now I'm hyped up on endorphins for the first time since Disney and I love running again. Happy Andi!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This morning I clicked on to and read about a girl who ran a 214 mile week. 214 miles. In a week. Oh my word. I'm always impressed when I read about a BRF who does a 100+ week, but 214! That's an average of 30.5 miles a day. For seven days. I'm still mind-boggled by this. I can't even imagine 214 in a week.

But, the article does say to print out a copy of it and stick it in a prominent place to look at when you are tempted to skip your post-work 5-miler. So, as much as I was sitting at my desk thinking I was worn out from the work day, I thought of that girl and went for a run.

I don't know what's happening. Today the conditions were perfect for a run, but I felt pretty blah. PD (post-Disney) I was running maybe one time a week. Last week I finally decided to get back in the groove and kick it back up to three days a week minimum and I feel like the first mile is always a struggle. It's wierd. I feel like I'm starting to run all over again and I don't like it. I want my happy runs back. I want my "wow, that was great" feeling to return. I know I have to have patience, but in this case I'm finding it difficult to be patient.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ranting and Raving

I spent a good part of my day yesterday reading running stuff - blogs, magazines, books. Reading about running is great motivation for me and so by 6pm I was ready for a run. It hadn't warmed up very much yesterday and I wanted to get the run in before the sun went down so I started off way faster than I should have. Plus, I ate lunch too late so the start was pretty uncomfortable. But once I got in to the groove it went okay.

I was pretty psyched up after the run and started reading Running Times after the shower. There were a ton of stories about women training for the Olympics and how they run 2x a day, and about 13 times a week. I felt like such a whimp with my 3-4 times a week running! So I went to bed dreaming of intense training sessions and when I woke up this morning I set out to go for an early run.

Uh, Andria, just to let you know, you're not in training for the Olympics, not even Boston (yet), so that may not have been such a good idea. The run this morning was definitely hard, but I figured I'd take it slow. Thanks to some dogs on the road, that didn't happen. I was going to go out and back, but when I went to turn around and head back I saw I was being followed by two dogs. They were still a bit behind me, so I turned around and kept going the other direction and sped it up quite a bit. The run ended up being longer and faster than I wanted it to, and I guess that's not such a bad thing. Okay, maybe I won't be mad at the dogs since they got me to do a better run than I was expecting. But still, leashes people!!!

Rant over.

A few weeks ago when I went to visit my brother and sis-in law in Oklahoma, H and I went on a quest to find a good running bra. Nancy had mentioned one time that she had an Enell bra and that she loved it, so I figured we'd go find those. I won't go into detail about the shopping trip (but if you want to read an account of it, check out H's summary.) What I will go in to detail about is how much I love this piece of running equipment!

I'm fairly... ample... in that area and it's hard to find something that is comfortable and can keep the girls in line. These bras are expensive, but they are worth every penny. I'll admit it took me about 5 runs to get used to it. I've been wearing crappy running bras not really made for someone my size to run in, it impacted the way I ran. I would adjust my arm swing in order to minimize bounce. When I started wearing the Enell it almost felt wierd that the girls just didn't move at all. It took some gettting used to, but now I feel like I run a bit more naturally and more effeciently. The back has this criss-cross that really makes your back feel supported and helps me to have better posture, so I feel like I'm breathing better too. It's pretty neat.

Plus, they hook up the front so it's not such a struggle to get into as the more conventional type sports bras. These are definitely not the most attractive pieces, but they work great! For us girls, this equipment is just as important as the shoes, so I definitely will be getting me more of these in the future.

Okay, rave over.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"Don't stop then"

I've started getting back on track with my running. Since Disney I've really only been running once a week because my legs no longer trust me. They say to me when I start running "oh, no lady. You're not tricking us again. It took us a week to recover the last time you did this, so you better take it easy with us this time." Okay, so I've been babying them. I have been doing other workouts, but my legs just needed a running break.

Then last week the weather turned not so cold and pretty sunshiny for February so I got out there and ran. Granted, I did just do some short runs, but they felt great. I'm planning on doing the Oklahoma City half marathon with my brother B at the end of April, so I 'm kicking it in to high gear again.

Here's a question for any techies out there. I have an ipod shuffle and I love to run to the "podrunner podcast." If you haven't downloaded one you should. You can find it on itunes. The music is based on beats per minute and it really helps me maintain a certain pace. Plus he's started doing ones for interval training which I haven't listened to yet, but I'm itching to.

My question is, how can I get a podcast onto my shuffle. I've tried making a playlist with just a few of the podcasts, but it won't transfer to the shuffle. Anyone out there know how to do this?

Oh, and on my run on Friday, I had a nice moment. I was doing my 2.5 mile out and back and I passed these two ladies on the out part. I said hello and kept on running. When I turned around and started back, a little ways down I caught up to them. I was running in the same direction as them and on the other side of the road where they were walking so that I could run on the pavement (and not the nasty concrete sidewalks that this town has). One of the women shouted to me across the road "look at you, you just keep running and don't stop. That's so great!"

It was so cute. It was totally something my mom would say to someone running. I'm sure she had a conversation like that with someone sitting near her in the stands at Disney as the runner's crossed the finish lines. "Just look at all those people, amazing!"

I shouted back that I was training for the OKC half and she said, "well then don't stop." It was pretty great.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Long Overdue Race Report Part II

Even though I feel like I'm always apologizing on here, let me say sorry for the delay. The past two months have been rough, but things are starting to straighten out so I can now put some attention into other things. For the past month I've been renewing my love affair with Tae-Bo and other inside activities and only really running about once a week. But, I went for a run today and it was great. I even got to wear my sweet Disney long-sleeved tech shirt that I got from the marathon, so it felt even better.

Now that I'm back from the run, I'm telling myself I can't watch American Idol until I get this race report done. Loses a bit of impact when I write the report six weeks later, but better late than never.

I woke up pretty early on race day. For some wierd reason I insisted on taking a shower before the race. I really just needed it to wake up and calm me down a bit. Everyone woke up when I did, but then most of them decided to go back to sleep and so it was just my brother Bobby and I that headed out to the starting point. I was full of jitters and still randomly exclaiming "26.2 miles!!!"??? at random intervals, but I knew the day had come.

We did arrive a bit early and Bobby got me some water and a super comfy marathon sweatshirt. He is a videographer so he was there taking video of all that was going on. Since it was Disney there was some neat stuff - like guys dressed up like the soldier figurines from Toy Story. The atmosphere was intense. There were so many people it was a little overwhelming, but we were all there for the same purpose. I saw skinny people who looked like they would finish in two hours and others who I thought would be more in my category (just trying to come in before the 7 hour time limit).

I ate my powerbar and drank my water and got in line for the portapotties. I pretty much went every time I could just because I didn't want to have to stop during the race (but I did anyway - why use a portapotty when you can use a real restroom in the parks?) When they made the announcement to get moving to the race line I said goodbye to Bobby and headed off. It was about a half a mile walk to get to the corrals, but I didn't really pay attention. What I was thinking about was how easy men have it because they didn't have to wait in line for portapotties, they were just lined up at the edge of the trees. Jealous. And a bit grossed out.

Anyway, I found my corral and I was resisting the tears. I didn't want to waste the precious hydration!

The weather was nice, not too cold. When it got close to 6 am we heard Mickey and Minnie talking about the race, and it was so cool. There were fireworks at the start but it took about 7 minutes of walking for our group to cross the starting line. It's hard to explain how it felt crossing the starting line with this huge group of people all setting out with the same goal - to finish 26.2 miles. It was such a great feeling to cross the line and know all these other people were going to be doing the same thing. What a rush!

We started out running on the way to Epcot. For the first bit the runners were separated into two groups and spectators were only on one side of the road. My corral was in the group on the opposite side of the spectators. All my family was at that part of the race but I didn't get to see anyone. Fortunately we went by that spot again on the way out of Epcot, so I did get to see my family. That was around mile 4, so my nephew and P had my sport beans ready for me. It was so encouraging seeing my family at that point. I was so overwhelmed at the mass of people I was running with that it was great to hear a familiar voice and see familiar faces.

Running through Epcot was definitely my favorite part of the race. It was still dark out and I was still full of energy. We ran under the big silver ball (which for some reason I can't think of the name right now) and it was all lit up. When we ran through the place with all the different international restaurants there was music. I wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much when I ran through the second time after 25 miles.

When we left Epcot there was a lot of running on the road and at one point the road was really slanted, or technically I thinks it's called "banked". It was a bit uncomfortable but throughout the race there were spots like that and you just couldn't think about it.

I told myself that I had to run as much as I could and then I could run-walk after that. The first time I walked was during a water break around mile 6. Then I ran another two miles. I did tell myself that I had to run throught the mile markers. Around 8 miles I started talking with another runner. Her name was Tamara and it was her first marathon as well. She was really cool and I would have walked with her longer, but a mile marker was coming up so I had to start running again.

After mile 8 I started walking a lot more. When we got to the Magic Kingdom I ran. I had to run through the parks at least. It was so neat because the parks now had some people in them and it was pretty exciting. Running through the castle and running down Main Street was incredible.

After the Magic Kingdom it felt like it took a long time to get to the next park. I met Bobby along the way. He went all over the place trying to catch up to me. After all was said and done he figured he walked about 14 miles trying to find me and catch up to me during the race. He figured if he could do that, why not train and actually run a half and eventually a whole (and eventually do the Goofy Challenge which is running the half on Saturday and then the whole on Sunday... we are both signed up for that next year.)

He did tell me that my Dad and Sister M were at the Animal Kingdom and I'd find them once I got there. By the time I hit the Animal Kingdom I was pretty worn out. I was so happy to see some of may family. M ran alongside me (she actually crossed into the roped area and ran right next to me until one of the volunteers saw her and kicked her out). At some point we did need to stop and walk, but she is a fast walker. She kept asking me questions and then said "wait, no, don't talk, save your breath. I'll talk." It was great to have her with me. She ended up leaving the park and then walking with me a bit more once out of the park. It was refreshing to have her at that point because I was exhausted.

The longest, most awful stretch of the race was the journey from Animal Kingdom to Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). Seriously, after mile 18 I was tired and pretty much running on auto pilot. Each mile was taking longer and longer to tick off. There is this one spot in the race that you are running on the highway and you run out a half mile and then back the same way. Ugh. That was the worst part of the whole race, but along there you see the 20 mile marker and it kind of makes up for it. At that point you figure if you have done 20 miles, what's 6.2 right?

Once I got in to Disney Hollywood Studios I saw Bobby again. He is also a fast walker so he really helped me keep my pace up. By that point in the race I was really struggling. But the good thing was that I was on Disney property for the rest of the way so they wouldn't technically cut me off. You have 7 hours to finish, but as long as you hit mile 22 by the cutoff, they won't deny you crossing the finish line. I didn't know that until after, but there were some family members (K) who were watching me on line and were getting concerned because I was slowing down.

I was pretty much only running over the mile markers at this point and walking all the in-between. I'd try to run, but the legs were pretty sore. My heart and lungs felt great but my legs were just tired. I did stop a bit and stretch too.

The course from Hollywood Studios to Epcot was not that bad. Tons of people were passing me, but there were still a lot of people around. I didn't feel like a straggler because there were so many of us. But one way I knew it was getting towards the end was that the water stops were fairly clean by the time we got there. The ones in the beginning were a mess, but I guess they had time to clean up waiting for the slowpokes. Fine by me. Kept my shoes cleaner. LOL! They did run out of gel at the second gel stop and there was a final food stop that didn't have anything left, but I still had a few of my blocks left, so I was okay.

My sister M, who I had seen at the Animal Kingdom had come to the boardwalk and ended up walking with me for a long way near the end. She is training to do the marathon next year and almost did it with me this year. It was great to have her there. We ran when we could, which by then was almost not at all. She was with me to where we went under the ball again at Epcot. It was just a bit before mile 26 and I told her that was as far as I'd let her go with me. I wanted to do the last .2 on my own. Turns out she couldn't have gone with me after that anyway.

When I saw the 26 mile marker I really dug deep and told myself I had enough left to run the last .2. I don't know how I did it. Actually, no, I do know how I did it. The great part was at the 26 mile marker there was a praise and worship team that was singing this incredibly inspirational hymn. I have no idea what song it was now, but I heard it and asked God to give my legs the strength to run the last bit. To the spectators, it may not have looked like a run, but it was. I saw the finish and told myself I could finally cry and not feel wierd about it. I grew up with Joan Benoit Samuelson as a strong influence in my life since I grew up in Maine so I did the "Joanie" pose for my picture and crossed the finish line.

What an amazing feeling. My family was a little further down and it turns out that my Mom, after seeing me at around four miles went back to the start, and found where the finish was going to be and sat there and waited for me. She saw about 14199 runners finish the race. And was there about 6 hours waiting for me. She was sitting next to another mother of one of the racers and they were talking and stressing about how they couldn't wait until it was over because then she wouldn't have to worry anymore. Sorry Mom. Thanks for being there for me.

Having my family there was so great. What is even more great is that next year we are all going to do it! Well, most of us. Those who aren't running are volunteering to be the motivators. I did say cheerleaders for a bit, but my cousin T who is a Marine (and has been for about 13 years now) said she wasn't wearing any skirt. I can't picture her dressed as a cheerleader anyway. Motivator is a way better term!

I still can't believe that I've done a marathon. I just barely made it in under 7 hours, but I don't care. I did it. Plus now it leaves lots of room for improvement. I'm already signed up to do it next year along with my three older siblings, a sister-in-law and a cousin. So, unfortunately, our Mom will have to worry all over again, but I think she really had fun watching. She always loved Joan Benoit too and now she's got her own marathoners to cheer for.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Race Report Part 1

Okay, I've decided I have to break this down in parts or it will never get done. I'm to the point where I'm excited to blog about other things, so I want to be sure I get all of my excitement for Disney in before I get too far off course.

But first, my brother B has also started a blog here. He has already signed up for the Oklahoma City half marathon at the end of April (which I will be running with him. My SIL will be doing the 5k that day too.) I'll talk more about him and why he's going to do the half in the second part of the report.

Okay, first of all, when I left my home to go to Florida on Thursday things were just not good with the hubby but I knew God is always with me and most of my family would be waiting for me in Florida to give me strength. I was pretty tired when I got to the hotel, but when I saw all the happiness of my family - my Mom, my Dad, my little sister, my older siblings, my nephew - I cheered up. I decided that I had all the support I needed right there with me.

We took it fairly easy on Thursday because Friday was the day to hit the park. We got up very early and got to the park for breakfast with characters from Whinnie the Pooh. Who doesn't want to eat breakfast with Eeyore? We went immediately to Space Mountain after breakfast. Probably not the best idea, but I seem to be the only one who didn't like it. In the end we went on it three times (though my sister M's grand total was 5 I think.) We walked around a lot that day, but the legs felt good. I made sure I packed three pairs of sneakers so my feet wouldn't get too tired.

On Saturday everyone went to breakfast together and then we went our separate ways. I was off to the Expo by myself so I could pick up my packet. As I was waiting for the bus I kept seeing runners coming back red and sweaty and with some pretty cool medals around their necks. They were the half marathoners. It was so great to be there. When we arrived at the Wide World of Sports complex, it was so cool just to be walking around with all these other runners who were excited about the same thing I was excited about. I got pretty overwhelmed. I found my line for packet pickup (which happened to be the shortest line) and waited. I just looked around and tried not to ball.

I got my packet and looked at the chip and that for some reason made me start crying. The chip is what made it really official for me. That's what would keep track of me as I ran this thing I had been working so hard for. I went into the stadium seats and called my sister because I was just balling. It took so long to get to the actual point of running a marathon and so much has happened that I couldn't believe I was this close.

After I calmed down, I went and walked around the Expo. I had two things that I needed to get - Body Glide and some Gel. I know, two things I really should have brought with me, but well, there's no place in my town that sells body glide and the only gel I could find in my town was strawberry banana flavor -GROSS! I found the Body Glide, but everyone was out of the gel and they weren't going to get any in. I did get some Cliff Shot Blocks, which I had never had before, so it made me nervous, but not much I could have done at that point.

As I walked around, I found a booth that had Bondi Bands! My BRF Nancy swears by these things, so I got one. Since it was Disney I got one with a pirate skull and cross-bones on it (and as a shout out to my SIL who wanted to be there with us but couldn't - we love pirates). Arrrr Matey!!! Plus, I thought it would make me think of all the encouragement that my BRF's have given me over the past months. In all honesty, I can see why Nancy loves these things. They are awesome! They didn't get sweaty and I never felt annoyed with it like I can get with hats or bandanas.

After my purchases I walked around some more and saw a ton of cool running gear. I pretty much wanted to buy it all, but I resisted the urge. I got my bondi band and that was enough for now.

I went back to the hotel and took it easy for the rest of the day. I pretty much hung out with my mom laughing and joking and drinking a ton of water. I think my mom was nervous that I had an infection because I peed about 375 times that day because I knew I wanted to be plenty hydrated the next day.

I did go through some mental meltdown trying to get the outfit together. I had pretty much brought two of everything and then had to decide which sports bra, t-shirt, shorts and shoes to wear. The only thing I was sure of were my socks.

The two pairs of shoes I had were very different. See, I had purchased a new pair about a week before the race. I know. Naughty me. But my old shoes were pretty worn out and so I bought the new pair to do my final training runs in. I really only ran in them two times before going to Florida. So my question was, which is better? Running 26.2 miles in shoes that are totally worn out, but that have served me well, or run in an almost brand new pair that may not be broken in enough, but that will probably hold up better over the miles? I ran in the new ones, but I went back and forth over it for a long time.

Then I stressed out trying to figure out in which order I put my non-clothing items on in. Does Body Glide go over or under sunscreen and deodorant? I mean, now these questions seem pretty ridiculous, but I pondered them for a long time that day.

Happily my family was there to calm me down. One thing that probably drove them crazy was that I just randomly shouted out, "oh crap, 26.2 miles!" during the whole weekend. It's just a wierd thing to psych yourself up for. Fortunately they always had great comebacks for me to calm me down when they saw I was freaking out.

We all got back together in the afternoon after my brother (who had just returned from his belated honeymoon in New Zealand on Thursday night) arrived at the hotel. We all got together to go eat an early supper. After that, some of us went back to the hotel for early bed because we knew we were going to need the rest for an early start the next day!

Part 2 coming soon.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bits and pieces

Okay, I know I still need to do the race report. I'm working on it here and there so that I can get it posted but the days just don't seem to be long enough. So I'm going to be posting a bit out of order.

When I ran Disney most of my family was there. It was so great to have them all there to share the experience with me. It was great (especially after mile 22) to have M and B meet me as I ran through MGM (now Disney Hollywood Studios ) and Epcot.

The really great part, however, is that all of my siblings are now excited and want to do Disney next year. We are all overweight and diabetes runs in our family. I'm so happy that we are all trying to get healthy. My two older sisters have signed up for their first 5k together next weekend, and my brother has signed up for a half marathon in 4 months (well, closer to 3) in Oklahoma City that I'll be running with him.

My sister P has just started her own blog here. She has the next year planned out to increase gradually and work her way up to Disney 09. She is a cancer survivor and has been working hard to get healthy. She's amazing and strong but hates running. Well, that's what she says now, but give her a few months and I know she'll be singing a different tune. Who wouldn't love running!!! She's going to get fitted for her shoes this weekend and I'm so proud of her that she's going to do this with us!

Okay, I'll try to get the race report done this weekend, but I'm still dealing with pretty difficult stuff and I want the race report to be complete, so I'll get it in when I can. Thanks for being so patient with me!

Oh, and I did my first post-marathon run the other day and it was awesome. Short, but it felt great to be back out there again. I was worried I wouldn't want to run again, but now that the rest of the family is starting I have to keep up the momentum. Yay!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Goal 26.2 = Accomplished

I will write a full race report later, but I DID IT!!! I start crying every time I think about it. It was an amazing experience and I'm ready to sign up for next year. I have a lot of room for improvement.

There was a team that was wearing shirts that said:
Dead Last Finish beats Did Not Finish which trumps Did Not Start.

That's exactly how I felt. Just getting to the starting line was a huge deal. Actually, when I went to the expo and picked up my bib I started crying because I couldn't believe I had made it that far. Basically I was a big cry baby the whole weekend because each part just overwhelmed me. This is something that I have dreamed of for a long time.

Thanks be to God who gave me strong legs and a good pair of running shoes. Thanks to all my family who was there to cheer me on, or who were at home tracking my progress or were waiting for the call to hear that I finished. Thanks to all my BRF's who have been so encouraging along the way. You were all with me on my run.

I'll write again later, but WOW! I can now say I'm a marathoner.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I'm very sorry that I have not posted in a long time. I try not to air my frustrations on-line since it's so public, but basically I've been going through a very rough time with my hubby. I won't go into detail, but it's kept me from doing a lot of things that I've wanted to.

I haven't been running nearly as much as I needed to as a result of the crap I've been dealing with, but I'm still going to Disney. I was talking to my sister M the other day and I said I don't care if it takes me the whole 7 hours, I just want to cross the finish line. She told me that just getting to the starting line was a big enough accomplishment for her. So, you know what, I don't think that's setting my standards too low. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time and just making it happen is enough.

I know I've missed out on a lot the past two months and I'm trying to pick up the pieces and figure out the next step of my life. The Disney Marathon is this weekend and even if I walk it I'm still going to do it. I'd like to say to all my BRF's who have supported me all along, thank you. I've missed you guys and I look forward to catching up with you. You have all been amazing support and I probably should have been better about updating on everything, but I've had enough dealing with other things that I'm far behind with everything.

I'm excited that I'm going to be spending a lot of time with my family this weekend, it's exactly what I need. I can't wait to see you all at Disney!

I'll update again as soon as I can. Thanks!