Thursday, October 22, 2009

I’ve Applied for the Boston Marathon

I just sent in my application to be a charity runner for the 2010 Boston Marathon. Yes, I know, I go from one thing to another. I’m aware, my mother has told me this for the past 33 years. It’s how I get by-always looking for what’s next.
I was pretty upset when Komen for the Cure informed me they had no bibs. I had to write a very sad email to the Remember Betty Foundation, letting them know that I was not going to be able to run in memory of Danny Wood’s mom. I received a reply asking if there was another foundation that supported breast cancer research, but alas, there wasn’t.
That being said, I started to look at other charities. I kind of felt like a flip-flopper at first. Hey, you don’t have any bib? Well then I’ll just move onto the next foundation that does! But when I began looking, I didn’t feel any connection to the charities. I mean, its a good thing that I don’t know anyone with leukemia.
One of the last charities I looked at was GoKids Boston. Per their website (, their mission statement is: “We are driven to improve the health, wellness, and overall outlook for adolescents, pre-teens and teens.
We provide kids personalized instruction and support to become more physically active, improve fitness, eat nutritiously, and gain self-confidence.”
Kids + physical activity +nutrition=a charity that I would be passionate about!!
The more I looked into this group, the more I fell in love. Education about positive body image in young women? Check. Partnership with UMass Nutrition Extension Program. Check. Research in the area of physical activity and nutrition in school aged children? Check.
Not only does this sound like a great charity, it also sounds like a great job.
And me being the pain that I am, I have already emailed the woman in charge of selecting the Team members, plus added her to my Linkedin connection list. I opted out of asking her to be my friend on facebook –that’s just a little over the top. For now.
Back to waiting…good thing I have a half marathon in November to occupy my time until I hear back. See, always looking at what's next on the horizon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And the Wind Has Been Taken Out of My Sail

Great-received this email today

Hi Lisa,

I was going to email you today actually. Unfortunately we did not receive any entries to the 2010 Boston Marathon. Thank you so much for your interest and please check back with us next year!

Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

BOOOOOOO! Now what do I do?!?

Hartford Marathon

This blog probably won’t read very well, as I want it to serve my own purpose of remembering the events of my first marathon.
I picked up my bib on Friday night at the Expo, and had the family tag along. They had shirts for sale that said, "26.2 Hartford I Did It!" Who the heck would buy that the night BEFORE the marathon? Talk about jinxing yourself. Honestly, I thought the Expo and getting my bib was going to be more magical than it was. Kind of a let down, but maybe it had something to do with just having driven 3 hours in a car with 2 kids, 2 dogs and a stressball husband. Just a thought.
I went to bed shortly before 10pm and had very little trouble sleeping, which surprised me. As it got closer to the 5:45am mark, I was more anxious, but still managed to get some sleep. I got up prior to my alarm, got ready and ate about a half of a bagel before the vomit sensation set in. My mom got up to take my picture, just like the first day of school. She asked me what you say to wish a runner good luck, and I informed her that it wasn’t the same thing you say to an actor prior to going on stage.
It was still dark as I left for Hartford. It was about an hour drive from my parent’s house, and I foolishly took the back roads, which had either drivers who were going off to work at an ungodly hour on the weekend or people who were staggering home from a night out-neither one left me feeling very secure. Once I got to Hartford, it was pure chaos. I was going to follow the map and park in the designated lots, but I saw some guy who was letting you park in his lot for $8-I was sold. The walk wasn’t too bad (foreshadowing) and I promptly got into the port-o-potty line. The first woman I spoke with was running her first 5K (they have a 5K, half marathon and marathon all at the same time). She seemed very relaxed and she helped to keep my nerves at bay. After going to the bathroom, I promptly move to a port-o-potty line closer to the start. It’s a given-I’m going to have to pee twice prior to running, so I always get right back in line once I get out.
The next line I was in, I starting talking to another woman who was also running her first marathon. She told me she lost 200 pounds over the past year and couldn’t believe she was here!
I finally headed to the start line and decided I would try to join the 5 hour pace group. I didn’t catch the leader’s name, so I called him Sparky. I met Kelly, who decided she would run with me. She was a spunky little thing who was also running her first marathon. There was also some smelly guy in the group-lucky me. He was going to be rather ripe after 26 miles if he smelled like that at the starting line.
The race started and it was a good 6 minutes before we crossed the starting line. Sparky seemed to be shot out of a cannon, so I decided that following Sparky wasn’t the greatest of ideas. Kelly and I ran and chatted a bit, and she was a bit of a heckler (just my style), so she was shouting stuff at people in the crowd and on the bridge. One of the first signs I saw read “Mind, Heart, Guts” I loved it! Around mile 2, I see a lone cow bell-rining person-its Christy! She had driven down from NH THAT MORNING (aka left at 5am) so she could cheer me on, as well as run the end of the race with me. I was so happy to see her that I ran up to her and flung my arms around her. What a nice surprise so early in the race! I met up with Christy again around mile 5 or so, and she ran a bit with me then, until I dropped her off where we would meet at mile 17.
Kelly had to pee at some point, so we stopped running together, although she somehow caught up with me later on, then zipped past me. There was also a woman with a note on her back that read, “Please don’t touch me, I have broken ribs.” I told her that running with bronchitis didn’t seem so bad. I continued on, doing whatever I could to occupy my time, such as telling the frowning cops to smile (most didn’t think it was funny) or chatting with random people. I met a guy who is a news anchor in CT (I later found this, as I didn’t know who he was,0,5669699.story) He was funny and entertaining.
I saw Sparky, the 5 hour pacer once in awhile through mile 6, but then he was gone, which meant my goal of 5 hours was also. I finished mile ten in 1:57:11, an 11:44 pace. Around mile 11 or 12 (its all a blur) you turn around and loop back the other direction, which was somewhat refreshing to be able to see all of the people who were running behind you (or a mental boost thinking “I’m not last”) On the loop around, I met Larry. He is 64 and has run a marathon in every state-I think he said he has run over 200 in total. Larry was another perky soul, who would cheer on everyone coming in the opposite direction. His favorite phrase was, “Here comes the fast women-I love fast women.” I also met a gentleman named Cliff (I think?) He randomly came up to me and started chatting. He told me he ran his first marathon in 1978 (I informed him I was 2 then) and that no marathon has meant more to him than that one. He encouraged me to write down every detail of the day, as he wishes he could remember everything about his first marathon. He also quoted scripture, telling me “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Meaningful, although I don’t think it applies to marathons. He introduced me to another guy wearing a Wonder Bread shirt. This gentleman was a pharmacist from Dallas, so we talked about Swine Flu vaccines (He STRONGLY encouraged me to get them for the kids) He talked about all of the different marathons he’s run, including one that he ran in 4 hours, 2 minutes, which he claims he couldn’t do again if he tried.
I find being a middle/end of the pack kind of runner has this comradery that the elite runners don’t get. Whenever I see the first female runner, I always cheer and shout for her. Nothing. Not an acknowledgement or anything. Same with the guys. Maybe they are just so focused they can’t spend any energy into acknowledgements. Not that I even have the ability to be an elite athlete, but I would take the cheering and encouragement from others verses the isolation any day.
Another exciting thing that happened was that my sister (Josh helped) had recorded encouraging MP3 from friends and family, and even some of my favorite Fitness personalities. This was so helpful. Everyone’s messages were a reflection of them as a person. Most were funny, some were serious and really reminded me of why I was doing this. I had messages from Petra Kolber, Cathe Friedrich, and Charlene Prickett. Charlene starred in “It Figures”, which was the first aerobics show I watched and exercised to back when I was 13 and started exercising. So nice to have come full circle and have these wonderful, inspiring messages!! I love my sister. And everyone who took the time to do this for me-it really helped me through!
I had a shirt made that said "This 26.2 is for all of the girls picked last in gym class." EVERYONE came up to me while running and commented on how much they loved my shirt. So many said they were picked last. One gentleman ran up to me and said, 'There is no way YOU were picked last." If you are a gym teacher, please oh please don't have kids pick teams. Cleary we are all scarred adults from this matter. Thank you.
By mile 13, I started to feel like I had a brick on my chest. I was happy I had made it past mile 10, since the Dr. said I wouldn’t, but at this point, the backlash from the 3 weeks of coughing was setting in. I was at the halfway point at 2:36:56, an 11:59 mile. I figured this wasn’t so bad, since there was a 6 minute lag time and I usually finish my half marathons around 2:20. By mile 15, I was walking/running, and by mile 17, when I saw Christy, it was mainly walking.
I felt bad because I knew that Christy was using these last 9 miles as part of her training run for her upcoming half marathon. But I just had no gas left in my tank. Whenever I would run, the pressure would start in my chest-it felt like I had a TV set on it at this point. I would pick a random spot ahead and slowly jog to it, then walk again. I must say, the last 9 miles are somewhat of a blur. By this point, there were fewer and fewer people on the course, and they were opening the course up to traffic (my biggest fear, as it meant I wasn’t meeting the time guidelines). I had vowed that I wasn’t going to stop to go to the bathroom, but at this point, I really had to pee, and I figured, who cares about my time. Of course, my legs weren’t aware of this fact and I lost my balance and landed on the port-o-potty seat. Excellent. At least I got to sit for a second.
Christy was a wonderful running (term "running" used loosely at this point) buddy. She kept my mind engaged and made sure I was doing ok and that we were on the right path. We jogged through a bunch of spectators and she made them all cheer my name. She took pictures of everything, which is great, since I had no clue of where I was or what I was doing. The end of the race had some interesting features-running by the CT river, running down a flight of stairs, running across a bride, and over railroad tracks. And a fair amount of hills. Towards the end, my mouth was so dry, yet all of the fluid was sloshing around in my stomach. I tried to eat a piece of cereal (hey, ,it had been HOURS since real food) and I no longer was producing saliva. Couldn’t swallow it, yet when I tried to spit it out, it dribbled down my chin. I passed the 20 mile mark at 4:28:43, now a 13:27 mile. I didn’t care though, at this point, I just wanted to finish.
Those last miles seemed to take forever, probably because I was going so slowly. Christy was “pretending” to jog with me, but when I told her it was ok to just walk when I jogged, I could see just how slowly I really was going. I was surrounded by people dropping out left and right. We passed a gentleman who had something wrong with his calf. He said he was going to kill his son once he finished because his son made him do this on a bet. We passed a girl in her 20’s who had to drop out-the poor thing was sitting on the curb, crying. At least 3 ambulances were on the course. The van that drives non-finishers to the finish line seemed to be circling me like a vulture.
Last side note-if you ever want to run for a charity, it appears the Team in Training is the way to go. All runners for the Team had someone with them for most of the race, running with them, keeping them company, and encouraging them. They had a tent with real food and drinks midway for the Team runners as well. And they had people on bikes riding the course, so you knew where to go and always had someone near you. Wow.
Thank God Christy was with me-when I was all alone towards the end, there would have been no way I could have finished-mentally, I would have just given up and gotten in that van. I cannot thank her enough for sacrificing her entire day to help me out.
Right before we hit the 25 mile mark, I saw a man on crutches who appeared to have just had his leg amputated. When I saw him, I thought, “Lisa, quit your complaining –be thankful you have 2 good legs!” At this, I decided to jog the remainder of the race. I could hear the announcer at the finish line and Josh and Erika were there at the 26 mile marker to cheer me on. At this point, I was about to go under the arch, so I bid a fond farewell to Christy. Running under the arch was really magical. ( Partially because of its size and mainly because you know that once you run under it, its just a few more steps!! Another perk to being end of the pack is that you get all of the attention. I saw my girls, my parents, Josh, Christy and Erika (yes, they really had to gun it to get there in time) and I knew this was the end! The girls had made great posters for me that read “Go Mommy Go” and were signed with their full names. Gotta love it. The announcer was probably sleeping and was thrilled to have something to announce, since it had been hours since someone crossed the finish line. I heard my name being called, and I threw my arms up in a victorious manner! I was DONE! I rather handsome man put my medal around my neck (I later learned his job was “body catcher” and he hold people who collapse when they cross the finish line) I started to cry, mainly because I had finished, but because I no longer had to move! My final time was 6:14:47, a 14:18 mile pace. Obviously I was disappointed with my time, since I thought I could finish around 5 hours, but seeing as though the prediction was that I would crap out at mile 10, I was just really thankful I finished.
I must say walking to the car sucked. Now I was wishing I parked closer. But I have never been happier to see my POS car because I knew that this would be the first time I could sit down since 7am.
I have to say that I didn’t feel as bad physically as I thought I would, and actually ran an easy 3 miles 2 days later.
I read that running a marathon is like childbirth. You think its terrible while you are going through it, but the outcome is so great, you forget all of the pain. I can’t wait to run my next one.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not the B Word-Yes, Dear, Bronchitis

My blog has a think layer of dust on it-similar to my table due to my lack of time to do anything but train for a marathon. I went MIA for 3 weeks mainly because I got sick. I completed my last (and farthest) long run of 20 miles and literally stepped off the treadmill sneezing. That was the beginning. I was able to keep up with my training the next week, but struggled through my runs. Then the bronchitis set in. Week 2 of being sick, I went to the doctor begging for a cure. She gave me antibiotics, but they did nothing. I spent the week resting lots and trying to take it easy. I did the bare minimum for my running, but when it came to my 10 mile run, it just wasn’t going to happen. A week before the marathon and I’m unable to run 10 miles? Not a good sign.
I went back to the doctor 6 days before the marathon in tears, hoping he could give me a miracle drug. He agreed to give me a different antibiotic, although he was convinced it was viral in nature. I asked the BIG questions, “If I run the marathon will I die-or end up in the hospital?” Nope, but he said it would be a miracle if I made it past mile 10-my lung capacity was so diminished at this point, he thought it would be impossible to finish. Wow, how inspirational.
Each day, I felt a little better, but still continued to sound like I had been smoking 17 packs of cigarettes a day for my entire life. Luckily, since I was tapering for the marathon, I barely had to run at all. But even the short easy runs were tough. I’d come home and Josh would ask how my run went. I’d lie and sputter out an “Ok” as I was trying not to cough up my liver.
I spent most of that week in tears, thinking that I just needed to give up on trying to run the marathon. I looked into alternative ones that I could run in the next few weeks, but there weren’t any. By Wednesday, I need to decide. People were waiting on me to make their plans and I needed to mentally decide to dedicate myself to doing this or to just say “Maybe next time”. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there will always be a reason not to run. Whether its sickness, time of year, weather, etc. there could and would always be an excuse. I decided that I would run, not care about my time and just hope to prove the doctor wrong.