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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

So, I reached a major milestone over the weekend by karate-chopping 16 miles!! AHHHH-YAH! I actually was nervous all last week knowing I was going to do this kind of mileage. I had only done just under 14 miles one other time so this was unchartered territory. So Sunday I headed out at 6am in the dark with three other marathoners (two of them have run countless 26 milers) so I was the only virgin.

What's two more miles, right? A-LOT.

Running certainly keeps you humble. I've done a lot of races already this year, including two half marathons, but I'm always amazed at how hard just one or two more miles can really be when you're inching your way to 26. So on Sunday around mile 10 and slogging my way up a seemingly...Never. Ending. this neighborhood, I thought - oh my God, am I really going to be able to do 16.2 more miles after this?!? The race is in a little over a month! In this gargantuan and affluent neighborhood, I kept passing smiley joggers in their neatly coordinated workout outfits who probably just came from the grips of their coffee mugs and morning papers and they looked so fresh and bouncy. I became acutely aware that at this point I looked less than fresh after running for more than two hours straight. I probably looked like a sweaty, crazy-eyed serial killer. Alright, a slight exaggeration, but I was definitely feeling dazed like my legs came out of autopilot and were asking "um, it's been hours - why are we still running?" My running mates thankfully kept reassuring me, but a shred of self doubt is there in the back of my mile at a time I keep telling myself.

Sticking to a training schedule and related rituals has been hard but absolutely essential. It's even funny how before all of this crazy running I used plan my outfits before work, carefully thinking about what cute shoes, jewelry and bag I was going to coordinate with a dress or my favorite trousers. Now, my night time preparation entails carefully packing my gym bag. Picking out a cute red patent leather belt to match a skirt, for example, is less of a concern...but forgetting to pack my 3-inch, velcro-closure fuel belt with holsters for water bottles is disasterous! Sexy. Of late, my bra purchases have been less Victoria's Secret and more Sports Authority. Double Sexy. I have come to not only embrace Spandex shorts, I now really prefer them. Never in my life would I have thought those words to exit my lips. Yes's actually more about comfort than what my hind quarters look like these days. Although torching over 1,000 calories a run certainly has its benefits! And for goodness sake, I'm buying Glucosamine suppliments (for healthy cartilage!) in economy sizes. Anyway, you get the changes.

Well, on to more substantive matters. I want to thank SO many generous people for their amazing support of my TNT efforts so far - I'm at 80% to my goal - just a little left to raise in over a month! I've been working hard to reach this amount from seeking generous donations, to hosting a fundraiser and silent auction, to working concessions at Braves games! It's been great to inch closer to that $2,900 goal. I've been touched by so many people through TNT and it has enriched my life in ways I never knew. I thought I was just doing this for my dear Evie, but it's grown to mean so much more. I'm now even a TNT mentor for a whole new crop of TNT participants so I get to see them experience what I did a year ago, which is amazing! So, I hope to inspire others to "karate chop" this cancer thing and help them reach their own personal training goals too.

Seeing what a bunch of people in purple can do is pretty nifty. Here's a team picture of the "new kids" I took a few weeks ago.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's so hot, I can't even name this post

Geez all mighty, I've been slow like molasses to write...and for that I am sorry, gentle readers. I think it may be this insufferable heat that zaps any spare energy from my brain cells. I will say, however, my spare time is spent...well, you guessed it - running. And like Forrest...I-AM-A-RUH-NING, Jenny! (yes, I like this movie).

I've never run this much in my life! I got used to training all last winter and spring for my first two half-marathons, but this marathon thing is serious business. I'm not afraid to admit: I'm dern-well nervous. Maybe it's not really a bad thing...I think it's keeping me a little anxious and on my toes. October will be here before you know it. I'm sure my running pal Carol is getting sick of the barrage of questions about the Nike Marathon in San Fran last year. I'm like a little kid, begging their parent to tell the story over and over again. "So, Carol...tell me again, how did the Nike race go? What did you feel? Did it hurt? Was it hot? Was it cold? Are there really fire fighters in tuxes? How bad are the hills? Did you have to pee? Did you vomit? What about blisters? Did you chafe?" She patiently answers all my questions for the umpteenth time and again today after our 10 miler. Clearly, you end up sharing A LOT with your running partners. So we're just now starting to get into the mileage I've never run before. Last week was 14, we were down to 10 this week, and then a big 16 next weekend...yikes! We're inching up little by little which makes for more digestible bites out of this gigantic mountain I'm calling a marathon. So yeah, we'll put my neuroses on the shelf for a moment.

On to more important matters. I dedicate this post to my crutches. Not the kind you think; I'm not talking about the metal poles with the foam pads that dig into your armpits and are given to you in unfortunate circumstances. I'm talking about the friends (including my hubby) who have helped me in so many ways (ways they probably do not even know) and who I literally depend on to new running friends, to work friends, to my life-long soul sisters (A,E,D). This work and this process has definitely been mental as much as it has been physical and I'm learning a lot about myself; especially what I'm capable of. But, my friends...well, they are priceless and life crutches...they are steadfast fixtures that have held me up along the way. If you are reading this - you rock my world!

There are so many wonderfully special people in my life to mention, but in honor of crutches I do want to give one special "shout out" to my dear friend Rebecca, affectionately known as RTL or Rebequina. Since this post is dedicated to crutches she deserves a little special recognition. You see, she and I ran the ING Half Marathon back in the math...yes that's like 5 months ago. So, that's how long she's been on crutches! And yes, the unfortunate kind! She had a hip injury from the race (I swear it wasn't my fault!) but she was recently liberated (WOO-HOO!!) and I'm proud to say she's literally back on her feet. She is an awesome friend and also happens to be Hodgkin's survivor of 10+ years (DOUBLE WOO-HOO!!). And she was one of the first people I called hyperventilating when I found out Eve was diagnosed with the same cancer and she quickly calmed my fears. She also met with Eve and Michael soon after the news and I will be forever grateful for her sharing her own experience with us and being a calming presence. Thanks, RTL, and I'm sorry I broke your hip :) - let's go shoe shopping soon, m-kay?

So..yea for good for the bad kind. I leave you with a pic of me and RTL post ING back in March. That was a really good day.