THE Authentic Athens Marathon

It was about 16 months ago that my Uncle said “Hey lets run the Athens Marathon!” I can remember this day vividly. We were up at my Grandmothers funeral and my sister, uncle and I went for a run. Fast forward 6 months, and we actually signed up for it after my Uncle did some research. Little did I know that 10 months later, I would be in Greece running THE Authentic Marathon…you know, the one we learn about in History or in my case Latin too. The one that started it all.

If you follow me on instagram, then you saw some photos from my adventures over there. We left on November 9th and traveled over to Greece. It was a L….O….N….G plane ride. It also happened to be my uncles birthday…the awesome 7…0. Yes, he turned 70 and ran a marathon a few days later. Who does that? Needless to say, my Uncle is pretty awesome.

The first day we were in Greece, we got to see the 1896 stadium, where the marathon finishes as well as the Acropolis, Mars Hill and had some awesome Greek food. It brought back lots of memories from my Latin classes and the Gods and Goddesses. And the history…things that I had forgotten but had been reminded about while we were there. It’s hard to put into words standing among buildings and things that have been around for so long. After we went to the marathon expo to get our packets and walk through. I have to say that they did a fantastic job at the expo. It was set up to funnel you through a certain path. It is definitely not like the expos here where you get your packet and then you walk willy nilly through the expo. The expo was in the Tae Kwan Do arena from the 2004 Olympics. That was really cool. To be in that building and the athletes that have walked through there. So cool!

Saturday was the second full day we were there and it was a more low key day since we were running on Sunday. We headed to the temple of Poseidon and it was interesting to know the history behind the temple as well as the “Graffiti” that was left on the Temple. I say “Graffiti” because it was not the graffiti we know, the spray paint (Although there was plenty of that in Athens). This was people who had traveled to the Temple and carved their name or something else in the marble. But it was usually their name and the date. Who knew? After we went for lunch at a local restaurant and we were seaside, but the kitchen was across the road, so it was interesting to watch the wait staff cross the road with our food.

img_2994

The Temple of Poseidon

 

Sunday! The day of the MARATHON! We loaded onto buses and left for Marathon. It was a nice drive to the start line and we actually drove along some of the course. That was daunting, you actually got to see the hills that we would be running. Yikes! There had been some talk about “THE HILL” which started at mile 6 and ended somewhere around mile 20. Yes, you read that right, a 14ish mile hill. It was a near perfect day for a marathon. Low 50s to start and ended up in the high 60s when I finished. Much different than the Marine Corps Marathon that I ran 2 weeks earlier. The race committee did a fantastic job letting everyone know what was going on and where they were suppose to be. We took in the sights and my Uncle, Sister and I all headed to our starting areas. Before long we had all started the race.

It was surreal starting the race, I had decided to run 5 minutes and walk 2 minutes. I was feeling good and so I kept chugging along. My music was going, and I would stop and take pictures along the way. Around mile 3, we hit the memorial hill and made a big circle around it. It is where the Athenian soldiers that survived buried the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice against the Parisians. Needless to say, quite the sight to see in your first 3 miles. The first hour went by no problem, but I did start to struggle so I scaled back my run/walk to 1 min run and 1 min walk. That worked for the second hour. I was still doing great and was working my way towards Athens.

Then the trouble hit. I started to feel sick. So I walked. I knew I could get myself under control but I had to make sure that I was on track for my personal time that I wanted to do. So it was fast walking. I was ok with that, mind you, we had that continuous hill to conquer. I have to say that the water stations were awesome. They were giving out BOTTLES of water, full bottles. I was able to stop and grab bottles of water and I did get into trouble a few times when I went by the water station and missed getting a bottle, But there was another station not far down the road. They had stops every 2.5ish kilometers. How awesome is that. For half of the race, I have to say that I had a bottle of water in one hand and a bottle of Powerade in the other with the occasional cup of coke. Yes, Coke. Coke was handed out on the course. I had gotten to the point that I would take a sip of water or Powerade and swish it around before spitting it out.

The towns along the course were amazing. They had come out to wish us luck and you would hear “Bravo” along the way. The kids from the towns had olive branches that they would want you to take and so you did, and ran with it for a bit before discarding it and picking up a new one. Everyone along the way was so incredibly nice.

Soon we were seeing signs for Athens and so I knew we were getting close, not to mention my Garmin telling me that I only had 6 or so miles left. I had been doing math along the way to keep my mind occupied and off how much more I actually had left. Even though I sometimes failed at how much we had actually done vs. how much we had left. OOPS.

img_3052

The Sign for Athens…Almost there!

I got to about 38km and knew that we were so close! I decided to start running again, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk and I was feeling good when running and terrible when walking. Which also lead to running when I needed to and walking when needed which I was ok with. I saw the glass runner that we saw when we stopped by the stadium a few days before so I was sooooooo close. So, I just kept running and walking. Before I knew it, I was at mile 40, 2 more Kilometers, 41, ok I got this. 42km! Could it be true….I had hit 42km. So what did I do, I took a selfie! HAHA yes, I was that runner that stopped to the a selfie with the 42km sign which was right outside the stadium. So into the stadium I ran and to the finish line. 42.219 km or 26.2 miles later, I finished in the iconic 1896 Stadium. The emotions were there for sure. The experience of running into the stadium was like no other. I made my way over to our group of runners and met my mom, sister, and uncle there. I had finished in just over 6 hours and 30 minutes. My goal was 7 hours. I DID IT! I was exhausted, but I did it. We did it, my uncle, sister and I finished the marathon.

We got back to the hotel and my sister, Mom and I headed to the Aegean Sea. My sister and I were going to get in the Aegean. It was cold, yes. But it felt soooo good! Not to mention we got some amazing pictures with the sunset we had. After, we had a banquet that the tour group I went with put on. We had Greek dancers and they wanted us to get up and dance with them. I don’t think they realized that most of us had run a marathon. We were blessed with olive wreath crowns and a hand made vase to remember this moment by. It was a good end to the epic marathon weekend.

Monday in Greece was spent at the Plaka. It is the oldest part of Athens and a lot of it is now shopping and closed off to cars. We were able to go into the stores and find items that we wanted or were looking for. My foot was not liking me so my mom and I sat at a local cafe people watching after we got done what we wanted. My uncle and sister walked off to the local Ouzo bar that she had been to before. I wish I could have gone, but my foot was angry enough as it was, so it was best to stay off it. It was hard to believe that we were leaving the following day to travel back to the states. It was a great trip for sure.

img_3101

Ouzo

We made it back and we were all exhausted. It’s still hard to believe that I ran the original course, the one that started it all. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and if you ever get a chance, don’t say no. The opportunity may only come once. The tour group we went with was amazing. They signed us up for the race, planned everything out and worked through every detail so all we had to do was show up. If you are planning on going and running the Authentic Marathon, look up Apostolos Tours or by clicking here. I’m so glad that I went to Greece and ran there. It will be a moment that I will never forget. It was a truly awesome life experience.

Saturday Morning Training Runs

I don’t know about you, but my sleep schedule has been messed up for the last week due to the Olympics. I absolutely love watching the Summer Olympics. I like Winter too, but being a former swimmer and now a runner and swim coach, there’s just something about the Summer ones that gets me every time. So as a result, my body is screaming at me for even attempting to get up at 5am to go workout.

But this past Friday night, I stayed up to watch the swimming events at night and with the heat that was taking place the next morning combined with the humidity, I just was NOT looking forward to a long run on Saturday Morning. It was the last thing I wanted to do. My running buddy on my Saturday mornings, texted and asked if we were running. Again I desperately wanted to so NO, I’m running inside. But I didn’t. I said sure and we set up a time to meet and get rolling.

Saturday morning came, and my alarm went off at 4:57am. I KNOW! It’s earlier than my weekday alarm, but I was up and ready to go in no time. I was excited to get out there with my new shoes and planned my outfit around the Olympics. I know what you’re thinking, who plans a training run outfit? Well this girl does, especially for long runs because why not?

Durning my Saturday run, my friend and I were talking about how easy it is for us to get up on a Saturday earlier than we should have to but have such a hard time during the week to get up. As we continued talking about it, we went on to say how we both enjoyed the early morning time to get our run in and to enjoy each other’s company all while talking about what happened during the week. It’s funny how the conversation goes from one topic to another and it lets the miles fly by. I’m so grateful for that.

And how perfect is this?!?! Another awesome friend of mine just texted this to me.IMG_2482

Marathon Training – Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

I’m the first to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I use to cry when I would have to run for swimming. It was the DEATH of me. Somewhere I started to hate running a little less and starting to find the beauty of it. I don’t know when that changed but it did.

3 Years ago when a coworker asked if I would consider signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, I didn’t hesitate. I said “Yes” right away. It was only after that I signed up that I began to think “Oh biscuits, what did I get myself into?”.  The reality set in that I was going to run a marathon. Who was I? Who was this person that hated running and yet she signed up for a marathon?

There were lots of trials that went with that training. The wrong shoes were a big part of it. I was dealing with a lot of knee pain and didn’t know if I wanted to go through with what I had said “YES” to. I can, still to this day, remember my longest training run of 2013. 20 miles. 6.9 miles more than I had ever gone in a race. I had diligently mapped out my route and knew where these 20 miles were going to take me. I had chosen to run alone in 2013 because I was “slow” and because who else wants to spend 4-5 hours running on a Saturday morning. I walked in from that 20 miles, and my poor mother got the brunt of my tears and frustration. I walked the last 8 miles home. I still got those 20 miles, but in the process got blisters on my feet. I was maybe 3 weeks away from my race and I didn’t know how I was going to conquer these 26.2 miles. Luckily, the people that came out to spectate and my coworker helped get me through the first 10 miles. The last 16 were on my own since I started walking more. I would cry every time I saw my Mom and Sister along the course. I ended up walking the last 6 miles and still finished. I got that coveted medal.

Fast forward 3 years to 2016 and yet again I find myself training for a marathon (or 2). I am now looking for people who will run with me to help keep me accountable. I have my mainstays and definitely look forward to running with them. I’m slower than I was before, but you know what I’m still running. I’ve been laid up this past week with a hurt foot but hope to get back out there soon. I have races to run. I have my moments where I’m ok with my runs and other times, I’m thinking to myself, why am I doing this yet again. 13.1 or less is just fine. HAHA. I got new shoes, so I’m hoping that that was the issue that caused my foot to hurt and cause me to not walk all of Saturday after I came home from my 8 miles. And yes, I did everything you hear not to do and run injured. I totally knew my foot was acting different and ran anyways. OOPS!

So I’m planning to get back on track this weekend after a few days off. I know I’ve been struggling with staying up late watching the Olympics and then shutting off my alarms to get up early to sleep a bit more. Anyone else having that issue? Once swimming is over, I’ll try to be better about going to bed around my normal time so I can get up to go run.

Whole New Level of Crazy

I know it’s been a few weeks, months, maybe years (kidding) since I’ve written. My life has been pretty crazy so I needed to take a step back and work through the stress and then jump  back here to fill you all in. So don’t hate me too bad! 😀

You all know that I’m having this awesome adventure this November and running the Original Marathon in Athens, Greece. You can read all about that here. I can’t wait for that and to be over there and running. I know I’m going to get tears when I finish because the finish line is in the 1896 Olympic Stadium. How cool is that?!

Well this is where the crazy comes in. I was talking with my friend K who had signed up for the NYC Marathon lottery. She was looking for a fall marathon that was a stand alone event to see what she could do without having other races around that day. So we waited and waited and sadly she did not get into NYC. Big Bummer! As we were texting back and forth she came to the decision to register for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. I kept telling her to try because even if she did not get in, then there was the bib transfer process (Love this about the Marine Corps Marathon!). So she should just decide to come on out and stay with me and run the Marine Corps Marathon!

After much decision, she decided to do it. So that got me thinking. I have Athens on 13 November. Awesome right? Well Marine Corps Marathon is 30 October. Ok perfect, no problem. Never done a marathon 2 weeks apart. No problem, new challenge, Great. Well that would also qualify me for Marathon Maniacs! So yes, I totally entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery too! Luckily the lottery is only open for a week and they let us know on 31 March if we were going to be running with the Marines or not. Whoop Whoop…I made it. I was selected to run with the Marines!! My friend K was also selected! Double Whoop!

IMG_9523

I qualified for half fanatics last year. Go me! So if I complete this years challenge and run the 2 marathons 2 weeks apart, I’ll get my Marathon Maniacs AND Double Agent status. Now I’m not winning any races, I just want to finish! get those medals and have awesome experiences.

So here’s to the training, and entering a new level of crazy!

2015 In Review

Happy New Years Eve! This year seems to have flown by. There’s been a lot of things that have happened. Some really awesome and amazing experiences and then some not so great ones. I think that happens in everyone’s life and just how you deal with it and make the best of every situation.

January 2015 started out amazing. My swimmers were determined to have a great rest of the winter season and we certainly did. By the time conferences happened, they made it known they wanted to make it to states and still love every second. Which they did. January 16th also brought one of the most exciting “OMGsh” moments of the year, I decided to sign up for the NYC Marathon lottery knowing that my chances were slim to none about getting in. More on that later. I didn’t run too much in January. In fact I only ran 6 times for a total of 23.14 miles! I had made my goal of 1000 miles in 2015 and yeah not off to a great start.

IMG_3991

On the pool deck coaching my swimmers!

February came around and it was just as fun as January. I was still coaching and we got some snow. My swimmers did amazing at regions and states and we saw some of our seniors graduate. February brought back memories of my very first ever half marathon from 2012, the Disney Princess half. I will never forget running down Main Street in Magic Kingdom and it will always hold a special place in my heart. February didn’t bring lots of running either and I had 2 half marathons to prepare for in March. I did complete a 5k, a 10k and a virtual half marathon. My monthly total for February was 26.54 miles, still a long way from my 1000 mile goal.

16286859920_b63bd8fbea_o

March blew in with a vengeance. I had a very ambitious goal of 2 half marathons 8 days apart. Who ever thought this was a fantastic idea, me, was crazy. I ran the DC Rock ‘n Roll half with 2 great friends and had a great time even though it RAINED the entire time! It was fine when I was running but after I was sooooo cold. Then just 8 days later, I ran the VA Beach Shamrock Half which was so much fun. It was flat and a great course and great people along the route. My plantar fasciitis was really killing me but I survived and completed my 8th half marathon. The other HUGE thing that happened in March was the lottery results of the NYC Marathon, and yes I GOT IN! My first try and I was accepted! I was in total shock but in awe of the year I was going to have. I was super excited. My total mileage for March was 35.69. Better but still a long way off.

image2

Me and my new friends…the racing Presidents!

April brought in spring and my marathon training started. I decided to opt for a long training plan because I had not been running the entire first 3 months like I would have liked. So I figured I would start slow and steady and get to the end. I also ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which turned into 9.5 miles due to some unforeseen circumstances on the race course and we all had to be diverted. That was a fun race, and we had a FANTASTIC day for it. I would run that race again in the future, it would just be hard to beat the full blooms of the cherry blossom trees and the great weather. April brought 39.88 miles for me.

IMG_4833

Obligatory Selfie with the Cherry Blossom Trees

May, couldn’t believe it was May already. May brought on 10 training runs, with 3 of those being races. So it was defiantly not my month. I got to run the color run for the 5th time, think I enjoy that race? I also got to run Carter’s Walk 5k to support Dandy-Walker Syndrome and then the DC Wine Country Half at the end of may. Did someone say wine? It was a great race. It was my slowest ever half marathon since I had not trained for it, but I did finish and had a blast with my 2 friends who were training for their first marathon and ran it was well! I had 40.37 miles. Getting there but still not quite where I should be.

IMG_5155

Enjoying all the colors in May!

June was a an ok month. My training started to slide for the NYC Marathon and I was still in the low mileage month. I traveled to Jekyll Island for a work trip and had an absolute blast, although we did get diverted to Pittsburgh on the way home which then ended up in a car for 4 hours and getting back to DC around 4:30am. I did go into work that day around 11am and I was in my comfy clothes for sure. June also brought me admitting to myself that I was not as healthy as I assumed I was. You can read about that post here. I got to see 34.45 miles during June which brought my 2015 total to 200.07 miles! Do you think I’m going to hit my 1000 miles for 2015 goal?

IMG_5319

A very brutal 3.88 Miles on Jekyll Island

July was a quick month which had the anticipation for our family vacation to Cape Cod. We always love going to the Cape and enjoy the early mornings and how serene it can be. July also had impromptu trips to Swarthmore, PA to visit my grandmother and needing to do a 7 mile training run while up there. Also I got to really hang out with my cousin who is 10 years older than me and that really was the first time we had to talk and get to know each other and that was fun. At the end of July I had a very low 28.92 miles. Yikes, but I do love running on the Cape!

IMG_5718.JPG

Running on the Cape with my Sister!

August was the heat of the summer and also saw some somber times. My grandmother died on her 97th birthday! I was so glad to have gone up the month before to see her. My cousin that is living in Hong Kong came back over for the funeral and my cousin and his wife from Iowa drove out for the funeral. It was great to have everyone there and to really spend time with them. I think we were up until midnight or later talking and drinking and having fun. Something we have never done. There were not a lot of miles for August. OOPS. Even with the NYC Marathon looming, oh well. I had a total of 23.78 miles. Yeah, not hitting my 1000 mile goal. I’ll save that for another year.

IMG_6130.JPG

My amazing Uncle, Sister and I getting ready to go for a morning run!

September was amazing. I got a new boss at work (thank the Lord) and it saved me a lot of stress. September was also dreadful since the lump in my breast that I found last year and got tested (everything turned out ok) grew. New worry. So there were a lot of unknowns. I also was still training for my marathon and well that just was not going well. At this point I didn’t know what to expect for my marathon and it brought on a lot of anxiety. I got to run the Color Run again! Time number 6! What really helped in September was a friend of mine who would text me on Friday and ask if I wanted to go on a long run with her. It’s always better when you run with friends. Even though I didn’t want to a few times, I knew I needed to and I am forever grateful to her for having me along for the run! I had a total of 43.57 miles in September.

IMG_6298

October brought on the 30 day countdown to the NYC Marathon and my sister’s Marine Corps Marathon and a goal that she has been working towards for the majority of the year. I ran the Marine Corps 10k as my last long run before my marathon the week after hers and I discovered a little gem in covering my watch and just going by the feel of it when it vibrates to tell me when I needed to run or walk. Huge for the following week when I went to NYC. We had a blast and I’m a proud sister to have her achieve her goal of being able to apply for the Boston Marathon! She’s amazing and tells everyone that I got her into run, which I did. So next September she gets to apply! My fingers are crossed for her! This was my taper month, YAY! Who doesn’t love taper? October was also filled with doctor appointments to figure out why my lump grew and what to do about it. Ultimately, the doctor decided that removal and surgery was the best option and luckily I could postpone that until after the marathon. I had 51.46 miles for the month! Best month to the year!

IMG_6697.JPG

Getting ready to run one of my last long runs on the C&O Canal

 

November was my marathon month! The NYC Marathon!!!! I was super stoked and scared all at the same time. We had a great day for it, great weather and I couldn’t ask for a better experience. The people that lined the race course to the messages of encouragement I got on Facebook and text messages were amazing. You can read my race recap here. Soon after that was my surgery to remove my lump in my breast. It went better than expected and I was home at my mom’s house by 10 the morning of surgery. I stayed off my legs and running until December 6th when I had a 5k scheduled. It was good so I could let myself heal and not pull the stitches out. I had a total of 26.78 miles for the month of November. Just the marathon.

IMG_6984

My medal! It’s beautiful!

The year went by so quickly and December was here before I knew it. I had a 5k scheduled for December 6th. I did great for just having surgery a few weeks before. I finished and had a good time. Coaching started again and therefore we had our meets as well. I didn’t run in December besides the 5k since the 3 jobs and my swim meets were getting in the way and I would need sleep at some point. December is also my birthday month! YAY! Happy Birthday to me! So I only had 3.16 miles in December and 177.68 for the second half of 2015!

WLUZ9362

2015 has been a fun year especially when I look back on it and think of all my friends that I have made in different states and friends here in Virginia. I can’t ask for better running friends and better friends period. Ones that text me and ask to go running or to figure out what races we all are doing. It has been an amazing year full of 377.75 miles! Way less miles than what I wanted and shooting for but miles are still miles. Lets see if I can beat 377.75 miles in 2016. Seems doable. HAHA.

2016 will bring on lots of new adventures and my first international race! I can’t wait! I hope you all have had a spectacular 2015! Cheers to 2016!

NYC Marathon Recap

I can’t believe that the marathon is over! It’s hard to find me saying that. (Sorry for the long post, but it’s worth it, I promise😀)

I was kind of dreading the marathon. It’s 26.2 miles. Who in their right mind would run 26.2 miles at one time. I was crazy enough to run 26.2 miles before, but heck this was a lottery so my chances were very low that I was going to get a chance to run NYC. I mean 50,000 people are running, some with a charity and then the elites. Some qualified through the 9+1 program and then some were just plain fast enough. I thought why not, because chances are, I won’t get it. Well I was plain wrong. I got in through the lottery. (insert shocked emoji here). When I was first notified, it was a moment of shock and then the oh no moment took over. Then the well I need to find a hotel stat! I looked at a bunch of information and decided to stay at one of the official marathon hotels since it was .5 miles from the finish line. It would be easy for my Mom to see me finish and then meet me back by where we had determined a spot.

I made train reservations. We had never traveled by train but I was not paying $300+ per person for plane tickets when the train was just over $100. And the train was such a great choice. It was so relaxed and so neat. I would definitely go by train again given the chance. It was definitely worth it.

My Mom and I arrived Friday around 1pm and made our way to the hotel. Walking through NYC with luggage, yeah good luck. HAHA. After we checked in, we made our way to the Expo to get my bib and I was getting anxious and nervous.

NYC Marathon Expo

NYC Marathon Expo

I knew my training could have been better, so I didn’t even know what to expect. I had expectations but I also knew that I had to keep them in check knowing that my training could have been better. I would do the same thing when I swam competitively. I would have, and still do have a hard time eating when I get anxious/nervous about a race.

We went to a local Irish pub for dinner and I had this marvelous mushroom ravioli. It was delicious. After dinner, we were both exhausted and went back to the hotel to relax and lounge and try to figure out where and what we were going to be doing on Saturday. It wasn’t much before 8:30 and we were done. HAHA.

Saturday morning came and we walked up to the finish line and to scope out the grand stand seating so Mom could see where she was going to be able to see me at the finish, after 26 grueling miles. I was getting more nervous and as we walked in Central Park back towards our hotel, we were making small talk and admiring the enormity of what was going to take place the next day.

Me at the finish line, the day before the actual race.

Me at the finish line, the day before the actual race.

At least I was. I dropped my mom off at the hotel and kept walking. I walked down to the Empire State building and past the New York Public Library. I needed to catch the bus there the following morning. Then I walked up to Rockefeller Center. I didn’t realize it was that small. I guess when I was there briefly before, it was so much bigger or so it seemed. Then I made my way back to the hotel to take a nap before getting all of my stuff together for the next morning. Pizza was in order for that night and then we were watching TV while I got my race outfit together.

It was starting to feel real by this point. The oh my gosh was settling in and the I can’t believe I’m doing this tomorrow. I got my outfit together and made sure I had everything I needed.

Flat Runner! Race Tradition!

Flat Runner! Race Tradition!

I was use to running with my camelbak but those weren’t allowed on the NYC Marathon course. SO, I had to make alternate plans for my GU and phone and music. Lots to think about for sure. I definitely had to take the obligatory flat runner picture the night before and moved all my stuff to a pile so I could find it the next morning.

One good thing about this race, is that daylight savings was ending so we got an extra hour of sleep. But that was one more worry. I had to make sure that I woke up at the correct time so that I could get to the bus. Never fear, I did wake up on time and got ready in no time before heading to the bus. Our hotel had fresh fruit in the lobby for us, so I grabbed an orange and headed towards the New York Public Library. It was a great weather morning. Just some minor sprinkles, and it was a decent temperature. I got to the line for the bus and it was snaked around and we quickly made our way to the front and loaded up for our way to Staten Island.

It wasn’t a bad bus ride, it took maybe an hour. I wasn’t due in my corral until 10:20 so I definitely had some time before heading there. I made it through security, stopped at the line for the portapotty and then headed to my green staging area for my bagel and coffee and to see what else they had. I made my way back to the big screen to watch the other wave starts and sat down. No need in standing if I didn’t need to. I was able to watch the wheelchair and the pro women start as well as wave 1. It really started to settle in by that point, that I was, in fact, going to run these 26.2 miles through New York City.

My covered Garmin to keep my mind off the time.

My covered Garmin to keep my mind off the time.

Eventually, I made my way to the corral and made another pit stop. They had the bathrooms in the corrals! Never had that before. We made our way to the bridge and before we knew it, we were started! Holy crap..I was running this. The first few miles seemed to fly by rather quickly. I had covered my garmin watch with a piece of KT Tape so I wasn’t looking at it. I had set it up to run 4 minutes and walk 1 minute. It was set to vibrate when I needed to walk or run. The race started and I tried to not go out fast like everyone does. And  before I knew it we were over the bridge and through mile 4. Then in a blink of an eye mile 10 was right there. I was feeling incredible and not too tired. With my watch covered, I was able to keep a pretty even pace which was good.

20k hit and well, I had to make a stop. Wasn’t banking on that happening and it was a several minute stop. But I picked myself back up and kept right on trucking. I hit the half mark and was starting to wain a bit, but I kept up with my 4 min run/1 min walk except for the hills. Mile 16 coming across the Queensboro Bridge was awesome!

Mile 16

Mile 16

The people were lined up along 1st Avenue waiting for all of us to get there and cheer us on no matter what. 16-19 something were in Manhattan. I was looking at my phone every so often and saw a lot of texts and photos from people that were following me. And not to mention the Facebook posts and comments. I was surprised and in awe that, that many people were watching my progress throughout the day. Things started to get a little tough along this stretch and I still ran when I could but started walking a little bit more.

Mile 20-21 were in the Bronx. It was so fun to see the different parts of the city and before I new it there was the sign that said “This is the last bridge” while we were running back into Manhattan on 5th Avenue. You would see the trees of Central Park up ahead. By this time, my mom had gotten to the grandstands for the finish and she told me where she was waiting for me. Getting to Central Park seemed to take forever! But knowing that I only had so many miles left was what kept me going as well as the people there cheering for all of us. We turned into Central Park and I had 2.2 miles left to go. There were lots of people in Central Park and they were cheering for everyone.

Mile 26!

Mile 26!

I came around the last curve, and saw mile 26. I texted my mom that I hit 26 and I could see the grandstands just up ahead. She was on the east side, standing up at the top. I saw her right away in her pink top. She didn’t see me right away, and I could see her scanning the runners looking for me. I got to an open section and starting jumping up and down to grab her attention and I certainly did. I don’t know how I was able to jump up and down either at that point, I don’t know if my feet left the ground. But after we saw each other, I continued on down the stretch to the finish.

I crossed the finish line in 5 hours, 29 minutes and 58 seconds. I did it! I just ran the TCS NYC Marathon! This wasn’t about a PR for me, I just wanted to finish and have fun. I am still in shock that I was able to cross the finish line close to my PR, so maybe there is hope in the future to get under 5 hours.

Meeting @Matsui_Runs and  @pastrychef_Dani

Meeting @Matsui_Runs and @pastrychef_Dani

I got my medal, and 2 awesome ladies on Instagram were there at the medal station and they found me. We had sent comments back and forth a few times but now we got to meet in person! It just makes the day that much more special! They both will be running the NYC Marathon next year and I can’t wait to follow their journey!

After my obligatory medal picture, I even took a selfie to send to everyone I knew, I got my heat shield and one of the volunteers taped it for me so I didn’t have to hold it. Then I made the long trek to get the bag of food and make my way to get my poncho! The lovely poncho! It’s like the supreme poncho of ponchos. HAHA. It’s fleece lined and velcro closure. It definitely kept me warm as I walked back to 62nd Street to meet my Mom. I gave her this huge hug and started to get teary eyed.

The NYC Marathon was a fantastic experience! I would not hesitate one second to go back and run it again. The people that lined the streets, the bands and DJ’s, the volunteers that made it all possible! It was huge accomplishment for me and everyone else that ran it. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be apart of the 2015 NYC Marathon!

My medal! It's beautiful!

My medal! It’s beautiful!

I did it! I conquered my 2nd 26.2 Miles!

This weekend was a whirlwind blast. I can’t believe that I conquered another 26.2 miles. After my first marathon 2 years ago, I made it to 20 miles and cursing every step after that. I was thinking, WHAT IN THE WORLD DID I GET MYSELF INTO. I’m so not doing this again. HAHA. Well we all know to never say never.

Earlier this year, I signed up for the TCS NYC Marathon lottery. I was one of the lucky few to get in. And again, I thought, What in the world did I get myself into. But then again NYC Marathon is a HUGE race. I had plenty of time to train and get in the right mental attitude. And boy did this marathon creep up on me before I knew it.

I trained, I got lazy, I got back in my running shoes, and started training again. I ended up feeling less than confident in myself and had to keep reminding myself that I will be ok. My longest run was 17 miles. I wanted to finish between 5-6 hours. I didn’t know what was going to happen to be honest. There was lots of wishful thinking and hoping that I would be just fine. I’m not out there to win the race or break any records. I am out there to enjoy the crowd and have fun with it.

I finished the race (I’ll have a race recap in a few days). I got my medal! I got my NYC Marathon Medal! It was a fantastic experience! Now to rest, get through next week and then start working towards the next goal. I placed my medal up on my special medal rack last night and it was a glorious moment. A sense of accomplishment.

My Disney and Marathon Medals

My Disney and Marathon Medals

My 2 Marathon Accomplishments

My 2 Marathon Accomplishments

What are you working towards next?

NYC Marathon Week!

I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I’m scared. I have moments where I think “I so have this” and then I definitely have those moments where I think, “Oh crap, what did I get myself into”.

2 years ago, I set out to run and finish the 28th Marine Corps Marathon. I never thought I would finish. I walked the last 6 gosh darn miles just to get to the finish line. I told myself never again. (Doesn’t everyone say never again, but then never say never) And here I am 2 years later gearing up for my second marathon. Whew. I never thought this weekend would get here and I always thought it was lightyears away. But there’s still 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and still time got away from me. Or at least so it seemed.

I haven’t made a dent in packing. I’m still working on that. I do have my list made! And I have definitely added to that. I’m like any other runner, carefully watching the weathering and adjusting my precious race day outfit. Do I wear long sleeves or a tank top. I still haven’t picked out which sparkle skirt to wear and then what visor goes with that.I’ve heard rumors that you should dress for 20° over what the weather will actually be. And if it stays true to what it’s saying now, I’m going to be HOT! But then how do I carry everything that I’d like to have with me. My phone (music and picture/selfie taking, hello!) and gels, and my license and credit cards. Oh and I can’t forget the chapstick. I’ll definitely be using that on race day. Where does this all go?!

When I first made my list, it was suppose to be cooler than what is on the 10 day map, that we are now down to 5 days…eeek! Luckily I start at around 10:40am, but I’ll still be sitting for awhile playing the waiting game. That’s ok, I’m sure this won’t be the last time that happens. I’ve been patiently trying to get my music squared away, still working on that piece. So much fun to go back through my playlist to see what I’ve bought over the years and what could surprise me on race day again. It might just be he 26 songs I currently have on my playlist to keep me entertained. That could get boring though, I’ll be out there for 5+ hours.

I leave Friday morning for NYC and can’t wait. So many new opportunities and adventures. I’m thrilled to be running NYC Marathon and there may be a few tears as well, that’s ok. I’ll be overwhelmed sure, but I’ll be so happy to accomplish another 26.2 miles. It’s all about finding joy in the journey and believing in yourself enough to get this done!

Now, where’s my list to keep working on it?

9 Days Until My 2nd Marathon

I can’t believe we are 9 days away from my second attempt at a marathon. I finished the first. But I’m starting to get really nervous about this marathon. I want to do well but I also know that my training hasn’t been the best…so I’m trying to keep everything in check.

I started my list of things to pack a few days ago. I know…a little ahead of myself. If you follow me on Twitter(@runnerchick29) or Instagram(runnerchick29) then you saw it there. List making has always run in my family. There is ALWAYS a list to be completed. Not to mention the cute pad of paper I used to make my list (Thanks Emily Ley)!

My NYC Marathon Packing List

My NYC Marathon Packing List

I’ve traveled for half marathon and I was extremely lucky that my first marathon was local, so I just had to plan on getting to the start line in a good amount of time. I can’t wait to travel for this marathon. So many new things! But what to pack! That is the major questions which also means I need a list so I don’t forget what I need to take with me. But it’s still a list of wants and needs. Once I start getting everything together I’ll figure out what I can take with me and then go from there depending on space.

What’s on your list of NEEDs for traveling for races?

I got it!

I got my NYC Marathon bib# and corral placement!!!🎉🎉

I’ve been so stressed about where I was going to start for the NYC Marathon. I started to think I was going crazy. I didn’t want to be in the last wave….and be freaked out by the straggler bus, so my wish came true. I’m in wave 3 (I’m not a fast runner) and I’ll be starting at 10:40am.

Now to figure out what the weather will be so I can pick out my outfit. Yes, a sparkle skirt and visor will be involved. 😀 I’m hoping that it’s not too cold and not windy. I would love to be able to run in clothes that I run in normally and not have to dress in layers. I get so hot when I run and I would really like to be able to run comfortably.

Anyone else get Wave 3 Green? Oh and I need song suggestions!!!