Occupy Awesome

This was my favorite spectator sign from the 2011 NYC Marathon. There were so many great ones it was hard to pick, but this was the one. So much encouragement from so many strangers. It was incredible. It made me love NYC and it made me love the journey I’ve been on all the more.

All that said, there were some bumps along the way Sunday. It started out so well. I held back and kept my goal pace of around 10:00/mile. My knee held up great and did not hurt. I did have some pain in my other knee around mile 12. I walked a little at a couple of water stations and I was confident I could make it through to the end.

Then, after the Queensboro Bridge, heading onto First Avenue in Manhattan, all my muscles got tight and started cramping. So weird as this never happened on my long training runs. All I can figure is that I was dehydrated and did not have enough salt. I also don’t think I ate enough throughout the week leading up.

It’s been such a struggle with the eating throughout training. On one hand, who wouldn’t want to eat more! On the other hand, after losing over 100 lbs, there is part of me that doesn’t want to lose control and gain it back. This is something I’m working through and I know it contributed.

Miles 16-19 I ran two blocks then walked one. I was starting to really hurt. Around 19 someone came up beside me and began to talk (he was having stomach issues). This was a blessing as it gave me an excuse to walk further. As I got into the Bronx I kept walking as everytime I tried to run my muscles would not cooperate. I really didn’t know how I would finish. Lots goes through you mind in these kinds of moments!

Leaving the Bronx God really sent me some help. A fellow Team World Vision Runner from Australia, Kevin,  came up beside me and we started talking. His knee had given out earlier and he was trying to make it through like me. He and I walked and talked through Harlem for another few miles. It seemed more like a parade for a little while :). So many encouraging people in the crowd.

As we got into the Park around mile 24 we decided to try and run and then walk when we had to. We were quite a sight I’m sure as our form was full of pain. As we neared mile 25 we just decided to go for it all the way. Kevin and I kept going through all those pains and I was sure they were moving the finish further away as we ran (another favorite sign: “There is a Finish Line”). The last .2 was TOUGH. I kept repeating the Scripture verse on my GoSport ID: “For the joy set before HIM endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). God so clearly reminded me how powerful and important finishing is. No matter the trial, no matter how many setbacks, no matter the circumstances, FINISH.

My final time was 6:05. If you’ve read here I was originally hoping for a much better time. But I’m not ashamed. I finished. As a matter of fact, as I was praying later in the night I felt God say that if it would have been easier, if everything would have gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have learned that lesson. I wouldn’t have understood the depth and power of FINISH.

I’m so honored to have been a part of this race and this process. I can’t wait to do another marathon so I can do better — I learned so much about me. I’m so blessed to have been a part of Team World Vision and the joy of seeing 26 children’s lives forever tangibly changed.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement every step along the way. I hope I have the chance to cheer you on…SOON!



Follow Me Sunday on Your Phone

The NYC Marathon has a cool new app this year for your mobile that allows you to track runners (including me!) during the race. There are iPhone/iPad versions as well as an Android version (but why??).

You need to know my bib #…

Follow me and you’ll know how I’m doing!!

So excited… 🙂



Less Than a Week

One week from today I will be recovering from the 2011 NYC Marathon! I can’t imagine doing it really yet. All the months of training, dealing with an injury, recruiting child sponsors, etc., etc.

Sunday will be quite a culmination. Culminations are good :).

Learn to Love Rest

So on Sunday I did my 8 mile long run. On the last mile or so I had some pain in my left knee. I knew this was no good because Olivia has struggled with an ITB fiction injury for some time. I know  it can keep you down. So I had the next day off and I talked to my friend Jerry who just completed an Ironman Triathlon (!). He’s also a physical therspist so he knows what he’s talking about…

He said yes, it was swollen and I needed to take it easy so it didn’t get worse. Ir’s an overuse injury so I needed to “underuse” it this week. He told me to cut my runs in half and stop if it begins to hurt again. He also said to take ibuprofen (anti-imflammatory) and showed me some stretches I could do.

I’m happy to report that I did six miles today and no knee pain! It definitely shows the absolute importance of rest and listening to your body. Training for a marathon (or any race, really) is a lot of stress on the body and we need to respect that process. According to Jerry, that’s one of the reasons we train so long…to give ourselves a chance to learn about what works and what doesn’t, to be able to rest and recover.

Thanks, Jerry!

A Little Uncomfortable

So, on today’s long run (8 miles), I had…how do I say it…trapped gas. By the end it was gone (and no I didn’t “get rid” of it in Central Park!) and I felt better. But, it was very uncomfortable. That’s something that’s happened to me a few times since losing the weight. It gets very painful and I’m pretty much a baby with pain.

But, I made the target pace I wanted (avg around 9:30). I found this great calculator online (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm) that you input your fastest 5k (or any other race) and it tells you what you can run the marathon (or any other race) in. It’s very helpful…my fastest 5K about a month ago was 24:43 so it says I should be able to shoot for around 4 hours for the marathon. Yes! So my long runs should be between 9:42-10-42 avg pace. I feel okay going a little faster, but not too much — I know it’s important not to overdo it.

Somebody asked on my last training blog how I went from not running at all to a 9 min mile avg pace. The short answer is just continually running and having a desire to go faster. Some people are quite satisfied with a slower pace and I think that is awesome. There is no requirement that you have to push for a faster time. I just WANTED to be faster. I’m competitive. I love pushing my limits to see what I can do. I’m so excited/thankful that I can actually do that with my body now. At 297 lbs one year ago I couldn’t push much of anything except bigger pant sizes.

So, how did I get faster? I ran the half marathon in April at just over 10 min/mile avg pace. I decided in the time between that and the start of training of the marathon I would try and get faster. So I started doing some interval work. They’re called “Fartleks” and they obviously have a weird name (appropriate with today’s title:), but they work! I would do a mile at 9 min pace and then 1 at 11 min. I also did many short runs like the 5K and kept pushing for a faster time. One particular run with a friend who just did his first Ironman Triathlon (!) was pivotal. He coached me as we ran and I actually did my fastest mile up to that point (around 7:50). I knew I could do it then, so I just kept pushing.

Now I’m doing my Tuesday 5 mile run as a “tempo” run…a minute or so faster than the pace you want to run the race at. For me that’s 8/mile. This is a very hard run but pays off big time when I go my target pace. I then do the long run on Wednesday with some intervals. Right now 2 min fast, 1 min slow with an easy 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down. Once again, HARD, but worth it when I feel how much easier it is to run my target pace.

These are just my current experiences…I have SO much left to learn and I’m happy about that. Have you had success with other methods? Educate me.

Oh, and change a child’s life by sponsoring!!

Off On Mondays

I’m excited to share about my first full marathon training. I usually tweet about the runs, but these posts will delve a little deeper. I’m calling them “Off On Mondays” because my rest day is on Mondays! Pretty genius, huh?

Here’s a link to the plan I’m using. I actually got it when I registered my Nike GPS watch last month. I wanted something pretty challenging (to me) as I’ve been running all year and really wanted to “go for it.” All the while being conscious that this is my first Marathon and don’t want to overdo it. I feel god so far. My goal is right at four hours (!). That’s right around an average pace of 9 minutes per mile. Pretty crazy considering I probably couldn’t run a mile last year at this time…

On Thursdays I usually cross train – swim lately – but I missed the six mile run yesterday so I did it today. I’m doing intervals right now for the Wednesday run. I did 2 miles at around a 10 minute per mile pace and then 2 miles with 2 minutes fast (8ish) and 1 minute rest (walking). I then ended with 2 miles of another 10 minute pace. It was definitely a workout, but felt really good. I missed the swim, though. I may try to squeeze a short one in tomorrow.