Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nike Women's Marathon

October 20, 2013

Megan and Me at the Start - 6:00 a.m.!

This was my second year of running the full Nike Women's Marathon, and I did not go into it feeling very confident.  My weeks of training did not go as well as I would have liked, and the stress of work left me feeling more emotionally drained than I can ever remember being.  The night before the race, I was fairly certain that I was only going to do the half, because I was so damned tired.

My alarm clock went off at the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m.  Yikes.  What in the hell had I been thinking when I signed up for this again, anyway?  After some coffee and my usual pre-race breakfast of peanut butter on raisin bread, Jim and I went to pick up Mary, who was doing the half.  Thanks to Jim, we were spared another Muni nightmare like the one we dealt with last year when the bus schedule was completely off and we were really late to the start.

Of course, I ended up having stomach ssues as soon as I got out of the car.  Thank goodness the Sutter-Stockton Garage was open and that their bathrooms were decent.  It turned out that I did all of my pre-race "stuff" in this location rather than at the Hyatt like we usually do.

Megan and I met up in front of the garage, and we walked down to the starting area.  It was a zoo, as always, but the excitement was contagious.  Once the gun went off, it took us about 20 minutes to get through the start, and then, we were off.

As always, I had to stop and use the port-o-let at mile 1.  Normally, that's it until much later in the race.  This time, I had to stop again, and again, and again, and again.  I must have been retaining water in the days leading up to the race or something, because my bladder was out of control!  I have never made so many port-o-let stops in ANY race, ever!

Thank goodness I also knew the locations of the public bathrooms along the Great Highway, because those had no lines at all.  It took a couple of extra minutes to get to them, but it was worth it.  Much nicer than the portables, that's for sure!

And now, to make a long story short:  I had a really great race.  I ran very carefully up through the half marathon split at mile 12, mostly because I was still unsure as to whether I was going to cut it short or do the full.  It must have been a good strategy, because I was feeling great by then and I decided to keep going.

I kept that same conservative pace up through mile 16, because I was still unsure of myself and my energy level.  By the time I hit mile 20, though, I felt confident enough to start speeding up.  So that's what I did.  The splits tell the story:

And yes, according to my Garmin, I finished quite a bit faster than my official time of 5.33.xx, but that's because I usually stop the GPS when I take a bathroom break. 

I will let the photos tell the rest of the story.  If I had to sum this race up in one word it would be, "surprise."  Surprised that I got to the start.  Surprised that I decided to keep going after the half marathon split.  Surprised that I felt strong.  And STUNNED at those last six splits.

Now, it's time to take a break from marathon training.  I will keep running and racing, but the next marathon on tap is the San Francisco Marathon on July 29, 2014.  With the way things are going this school year, I think I need to give myself a bit of a break.  But I can't wait to start training for the SFM -- my favorite marathon -- next spring!

Marina Blvd, Mile 4

Point Lobos - Mile 7

Heading out on the Great Highway toward Lake Merced

 Why didn't I turn toward the finish line back there?  You mean I have another eight miles to go?

 Great Highway - Mile 24

The Finish!

Don't know whether to laugh or cry!
Glad it's DONE!
Marathon #7 is in the books!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

San Francisco Marathon 2013

Well, it has been quite a while since I've updated this blog.  It was very challenging for my husband and me to live as nomads for over a year while our house was being renovated (long story).  As a consequence, I missed several races.

Bronchitis caused me to miss the Kaiser Half in February, and I ended up shelving the The See Jane Run Half in June because attending a memorial service for one of my oldest and best friends took priority (obviously).

So... after a very difficult year at home (four moves in less than a year) and an extremely challenging school year, I was less-than-convinced that I would manage to finish another marathon. The SFM had been moved up by six weeks due to the America's Cup being held in The City in July, so I was running it the week after school officially got out.

Despite my doubts, I dutifully got my gear together the night before the race.  Now, that's what you call optimism!

I swore I was going to wear something different for this year's SFM, but since my Running Skirts "Skirt on the Run" capri is so comfortable, practical and perfectly fits the location of this race, I went with the tried and true.

The one thing that I did do differently this year was to order a personalized bib.  Over the three weekends preceding the race, my dear Tante Ruth suffered a massive stroke; the next weekend, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Marsha, passed away from complications due to MS; and on the following Sunday, my Tante Ruth died.  So, I decided to have my race bib printed in memory of them.  I will always carry them with me.

June 16 was race day.  I drove down to the start and parked at the Embarcadero Center, which has a great deal for runners of the SFM:  $10.00 for the day!  If you know San Francisco, you KNOW what a deal that is.  It's so easy to walk from the garage to the start, and back again after the race.  Plus, this way, no one has to smell my stinky, sweaty, post-race self on public transit afterward!

Once I had parked, I walked down to Perry's, where I was able to enjoy some coffee, breakfast goodies, and REAL bathrooms before the race.  I had paid extra for this "VIP" ticket, and it was SO worth it.  It was fun chatting with people who, like me, were in the later waves (o.k., the last wave), and watching all of the pre-dawn activity at the start!

At about 6:15, I made my way across the street for the 6:32 a.m. wave start.  Let's hear it for the back of the pack!  (This is not a photo of my wave, but you wouldn't have been able to identify me, anyway!)

And, then, we were off:  Along the Embarcadero, through Aquatic Park, onto Marina Blvd., through Crissy Field and up into the Presidio.  Then, it was time to literally "cross that bridge"!  Here is a short video of what it looked like as we ran on the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As you can see, it was a gorgeous day - one advantage to the race being earlier this year.  (July is usually the foggiest month around here, and last year, it was dripping wet.)

As I finished my trek back across the bridge, my Garmin died.  Just great, since I rely on it for my pacing.  We were only at mile 9, and I had no other choice but to use the GPS on my iPhone.  I started the app, hoping desperately that the battery wouldn't die before the end of the race. 

From the bridge, we went back through the Presidio, down Point Lobos, through the Richmond, and into Golden Gate Park.  This is where the half marathoners split off.  They headed east toward their finish line, and we turned west toward the beach to start the long loop through my backyard -- I mean, Golden Gate Park!  I am happy to report that for the second year in a row, I did not get lost near Stow Lake!

I was feeling pretty good as we headed through the gate by Sharon Meadow onto Haight Street at mile 18.

This year, I decided to stop and take a photo of the (in)famous "Persian Aub Zam Zam".  Many years ago, Jim and I were given the "Bruno Treatment" there, and we never forgot it.  When I ordered two gin martinis, Bruno grumbled in response, "That's the only kind there is!"  Come to think of it, I could have used one of his martinis at this point...

After turning off of Haight Street, I knew the final slog was upon me.  So, up the 16th Street/Portrero Street hills we climbed, then back down, then back up more hills, then back down, winding our way back to the Embarcadero.  Let me tell you, it's not the climbing that kills you, it's running those downhills.  My quads were on fire!  This photo was snapped about four miles from the finish line, in the Dogpatch area of the city.  I was feeling tired, but great!

After running through South of Market and along the waterfront, I knew that the most difficult part of the race was upon me, but this time, I was prepared.

As you can see, I am looking down, and this was part of my strategy.  Once the marathon route rounds AT&T Park, runners are back on the Embarcadero.  We also know that the finish line is less than a mile away. The problem is, we can't SEE the finish line.  In years past, this has put me into a foul mood, because I knew the end was tantalizingly near, but didn't know WHERE it was.  So, this time around, I stayed focused on the ground in front of me, until I became aware of some blue balloons up ahead.  That's when I knew I was almost there, and I "kicked it in"!

There is nothing that compares to the feeling of crossing the finish after 26.2 miles.  Nothing!  You can tell that is the case by my facial expression as I got my medal:

In this photo, you can also see the Bay Bridge in the background.  The SFM takes you all the way from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge via a very circuitous route. ;-)

And that was that!  Another 26.2 in the books.  My time was 5:30.xx, so about five minutes slower than I ran last year, but given the crazy year I had, I was just happy to finish.

Early registration opened the day after the race, and I immediately signed up.  The SFM is my favorite race by far, and I look forward to running it again next July, when it is back on schedule.  Yes, it is difficult, but as the marathon's motto goes, it is SO "Worth the Hurt"!

Next up:  The Nike Women's Marathon in October - and yes, I am running the full 26.2!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nike Women's Marathon 2012

Finally, a post on my long-neglected blog.  The past year or so has been difficult, so much so that I didn't even write up a report on the awesome San Francisco Marathon in July (my time:  5:26:00). But rather than focus on problems like our on-going housing saga, here's a recap of last week's Nike Women's Marathon! ;-)

Got up at 3:30, got myself caffeinated and dressed, and drove over to Mary’s house near the finish line.  Mary, Luann, and I then made our way to the bus stop for the 5:14 a.m. "night-owl" service downtown.  We reached the bus stop at 5:10 and heard the sound of an engine.  Sure enough, we looked up to see that the bus had already pulled away and was on its way up the hill. Thank goodness it wasn't a chilly morning because we had to wait for the next bus, which came about 20 minutes later.

This bus was small, and the only reason we got a seat is because we were near the start of the line.  As we made our way downtown over the next 50 minutes, the bus got so packed that it just started passing up stops at which runners were desperately waiting. It was a total flashback to the 15 years of my life I spent taking that same route to work every day, and a reminder of why I am so glad I no longer have to deal with it.

 Luann, Mary & Me on the Bus before Dawn!

We arrived downtown at 6:20. Mary and Luann were doing the half-marathon with TNT, so they went off to their meeting spot. I ran over to the hotel to meet up with a few friends who run the half each year, and after using the facilities and talking about the insanity of being up that early on a Sunday (never mind running 13.1 or 26.2 miles!), we made our way to the starting corrals together. 

Megan, Me, Ilona & Margit at the Start

I've gotta say, Nike seems to have listened to the negative feedback they've gotten about the disorganization at the start, because things went much more smoothly this year.  We listened to the national anthem, heard the gun go off, and we were off.

26,000 women would eventually cross this starting line!

Long story short:  This was not my best marathon.  I had had tummy issues since the day before, and I think all the trips to the bathroom had left me weaker than I would have been otherwise. Immodium helped to ward off trouble during the race, but it couldn't undo the damage from the previous 24 hours.

Cruisin' Along, Listening to a Podcast of The Mike Malloy Show

 So, I just did my best.  I felt pretty good, even at the point where the half marathoners turned toward the finish line (which was in sight), while I turned the opposite way with the rest of the full marathoners for another ten mile stretch out the Great Highway, around Lake Merced, and back to that same finish line. 

It wasn't until about mile 20 that I really started to feel the pain. I don't remember "hitting the wall" but I definitely heard a little voice inside my head telling me to keep holding back.  So, that's what I did.  Instead of taking one-minute walk breaks each mile, I walked for about 3-4 minutes after hitting each mile marker (probably about .4 miles) and carefully ran the rest of the way to the next one. I started taking GU at every mile instead of every other.   

And, I started blasting Eddie Money through my headphones, hoping that the music would make me feel like I was in my 20s again!

 The signs along John Muir Drive also helped quite a bit.  These photos, taken before and after seeing those signs, say it all:


Second Wind (or Third?)

Once I hit mile 25, I kept right on running and finally got to the finish. Time:  5:28:44. (According to the Lyin' Paul Ryan Clock, however, I ran a sub-3 - LOL!)

While Nike has gotten its act together regarding the start area, that was not the case at the finish.  Two of my running buddies, Tessa and Rebecca, can attest to the problems that have plagued finishers of the full marathon in this event.  I did get my Tiffany necklace from a very handsome, tuxedo-clad firefighter.  I also got the correct finisher shirt, but it was frustrating from that point on.  The only food that was left were plain bagels, bananas and water (I grabbed several of each).  Come on, Nike!  I had been on my feet for half the friggin’ day, and there were still a lot of finishers to arrive after me. 

Regardless, I had finished, and I was thrilled.  I wrapped myself in a thermal blanket (thank goodness they hadn’t run out of those this time, either) and walked about fifteen minutes back to Mary’s house.  Got into my car, got going, and started shoving bagels in my face at the speed of light.  I’m never able to eat right after a race, but once those hunger pangs hit, look out!

The best part of this race was what happened afterward:  I wasn’t really sore!  I definitely felt some stiffness in my muscles, but unlike after past marathons, I was able to walk down the stairs facing forward and I didn’t need grab bars to get up from the toilet!  All of that training on the hills and trails around my mother’s house really paid off. (Guess that's one plus to having been a nomad the past six months, huh?)

At school the next day, a student who had volunteered at the race told me how upset she was that the early finishers seemed to be hoarding food and drinks.  She said she saw people taking two and three of everything, and she didn’t understand why the officials weren’t enforcing the rules (or at least, proper race etiquette).  I explained to her that etiquette has always been a problem with this race – chaos at the start, walkers not keeping to the right, people just stopping wherever they are to take photos and causing pileups, etc.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure my student’s story explains why we “mere mortal” full marathoners ended up getting shafted at the finish – at least in part.  The other part is that Nike obviously does not yet understand that party givers are always supposed to plan for more guests than actually show up! My mother could give them some great advice on that subject. ;-)

So, my fourth marathon is now in the books, and I am starting to think about the next one. I’d love to do the Napa Valley Marathon in March, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking a group of kids to Washington DC that week.  I will definitely be doing the San Francisco Marathon again next June (my favorite), and I hope to run a marathon not too far from home this Spring. 

For the rest of the Fall and during the holidays, though, I’m going to give myself a break from rigid marathon training schedules and just run for the pure joy of it.  After all, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t run even one mile, never mind 26.2!
Crossing the Finish Line – Pure Joy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011: The Year I Became a Marathoner

Last Christmas, my brother, Michael, gave me a series of running shirts, all featuring inspirational sayings to get me out the door every day.  But one of them had something extra: "26.2" emblazoned across the front.  I thought, "I can't wear this; that would be fraud!"  After a couple of days, that thought turned into, "Hmmmm... maybe I could... should... will do a marathon!"

And, that's exactly what I did this year. Not once, but twice!  This is a report on my second marathon of 2011 -- the year I became a marathoner.

On December 3, Jim and I dropped Oscar off at his Oma and Opa's house (my mom and stepdad), where he would be spoiled for the duration of the weekend.  Then, we headed off to Sacramento - about a 90-minute drive from the city.  We arrived in the late afternoon and checked into our lovely room at the Hyatt Regency.

Once we got settled, it was off to the expo!  I had warned Jim that since expos are full of dorky/committed/obsessed/crazy runners, he was free to stay at the hotel, but he summoned his courage and went with me.  The first dorky runner he had to deal with was me, asking to have my photo taken with the "running reindeer":

Going through packet pick-up was an early indication of how well-organized this race is.  Everything was clearly laid out and the process went quickly and smoothly.  I still needed to purchase a bus ticket, so I waited in the appropriate line, only to be told that I had already purchased the ticket when I registered.  Guess I had been more "on the ball" than I thought!

With "business" taken care of, it was time to roam around the convention center.  In an amazing coincidence (that a friend had made me aware of ahead of time!), one of my favorite stores was having their annual blowout sale right next door to the marathon expo.  Score!  Jim was incredibly patient as I dug through boxes of Title-9 sale merchandise and scored some serious discounts.

After that, it was back to the hotel, a quick change, and then out to dinner at Dawson's Steak House.  What a treat! The food was incredible, the staff was delightful and the atmosphere was relaxing -- just what we needed after a long week. 

Saturday was a chilly but beautiful day.  I went for a short 2-mile run, just so I wouldn't feel stiff on race morning.  As I got into the elevator to go back to my room, another hotel guest warned, "You'd better not be doing too much of that today!"  He was obviously speaking from experience.  Yes, the marathoners had started to descend on Sacramento!

Jim and I then spent a wonderful afternoon with his family's good friend, Bishop Francis Quinn, a.k.a. "Monsy."  He treated us to lunch at his home, and we spent the rest of the afternoon talking and laughing.  My favorite story was the one about Monsy wanting to plant a tree in Golden Gate Park before he left San Francisco to become Bishop of Sacramento.  He and Jim went over to the park, clandestinely dug a hole, and put the tree in.  Since I run in the park all the time, I asked them to tell me where the tree was so that I could see how it was doing, but neither of them could remember the exact location!

He may not remember where he planted the tree, but Monsy clearly remembers everything else, right down to the last detail!  At 90 years old, he is amazing.

After saying our good-byes, Jim and I returned to the hotel and started to research possible restaurants for dinner.  We settled on an Italian place two blocks away, and were treated to some delicious pasta and plenty of vino.  I do not belong to the school of running that abstains from alcohol before a race, and as far as I could tell, neither do most of the other marathoners who were dining there that evening!

We returned to the hotel and I placed a wake-up call for 3:45 a.m.  The operator said, "Bless your heart!  I'll ring a second time at 3:50 just to be sure you're up!"  Of course, there was no need, since I didn't sleep a wink.  By 3:30 a.m., I was up.  By 4:00 a.m., I was dressed and ready to get caffeinated.  Thank goodness Starbuck's opened at 4:00 a.m. that morning to accommodate the marathoners.

As instructed, I was in front of the Sheraton Grand at 5:00 a.m. to get on the bus that would take us to the start.  Like clockwork, the buses showed up and we started piling in.  On the way, I ended up conversing with a guy from Vancouver BC, whose wife was doing the sane thing that morning -- sleeping!  It was fun to share stories about how our spouses deal with our running.  We both concluded that we are very lucky that we have partners to whom we can say, "Hey, I'm going out for a run -- should be back in about 3 hours" and have them respond, "O.K., see you later!"

The bus ride took about 40 minutes, and, since the CIM is a point-to-point race, our anxiety increased in direct proportion to the distance we were traveling.  Finally, we arrived at the start in Folsom.  Whew!

I got off the bus and was shocked by how cold it was.  It was in the mid-30s, and despite my layers, I couldn't get warm.  I did not take this as a good omen.

Next, I went to find the porta-potties.  From past races, I figured that I would be standing in line right up until the starting gun, but here is where the CIM set itself apart from the pack again:

This photo doesn't even do the "fleet" justice!  This was the first race I have ever participated in in which there were actually MORE THAN ENOUGH porta-potties. There were no long lines, and the toilets were actually clean!

At 7:00, the gun went off, and although I had lined up in the back (as I always do), I was through the  gate within 3 minutes.

It was a tough start for me on the emotional level.  I was freezing (literally), and the thought that there was no way I could run 26.2 miles under these conditions ran through my head incessantly.  After reaching the first mile marker, I decided to keep my focus on only the current mile.  By mile 3, I was feeling a lot more confident, and thankfully, it was getting warmer!  That helped tremendously.

Despite the frequent pit stops I had to make during the first half of the race (damned coffee!), I was actually feeling really strong.  My mental strategy went something like this:  "If I can make it to mile 16, there are only 10 miles to go.  That's about the length of an average Saturday long run.  No sweat!" I wasn't totally convinced by this line of thinking, but it seemed to work.  I hit mile 16 feeling great and from this point on, I will let my photos do most of the explaining for me.

The 17-Mile Marker - Feeling strong, but still holding back on my pace, just in case!  I kept expecting to "hit the wall," but I never did.  One of the things that may have made a difference was that I decided to take a little bit of GU after every mile (rather than every/other mile), from miles 18-22.  It seemed to work, but then again, it may just have been the way the stars were aligned that day!

22 Miles - At this point, I sent the following text message to Jim:  "@ mile 22 and feeling great. WTF?!?!?  See you in about 45 minutes!"

After mile 22, I decided that it just might be O.K. to pick up the pace.  I glanced down at my Garmin from time to time and saw that I was averaging about a 10:00/min./mi. pace.  Again, WTF?!?!  I could not believe that I was able to hold that pace at 22+ miles into the race. 

At mile 25, we turned onto "L" Street to run the final stretch to the Capitol.  I decided to kick it and ran that last mile in about 9:40.  As I approached the finish line, the clock said 5:14.xx, and I was determined to cross before it hit 5:15:00.

My expression coming across the finish line pretty much says it all:

I couldn't believe it!  I mean, I was ready to have the race over with, but I felt incredible!  I went through the finishing chute in a haze:  Got my medal, wrapped myself up in my "blanket," grabbed a few goodies to eat later, and started to re-hydrate.  Jim and I finally found each other and exchanged a very sweaty hug.  He said, "I saw you running down the main street and you looked like you could have just kept going!"

Well, maybe I looked that way, but believe me, I was glad to be done.  Final results:
Gun time:  5:14:44
Chip time: 5:11:54
And -- a 36-minute PR!

We had arranged late checkout at the hotel, so we went back to the room and I cleaned up.  After that, we headed back to the city, where Oscar was eagerly waiting for us.  Being reunited with our pupper was probably the REAL highlight of the weekend; he was so, so happy to see us!

The CIM is the best race I have ever run, and I will definitely be back next year.  Every aspect of the marathon was well-organized; the participants and volunteers were great; the course was beautiful and just challenging enough.  And the medal is pretty cool, too.


2012 is just around the corner and I plan to continue my journey as a marathoner.  Next race?  Possibly the San Luis Obispo Marathon in April. Definitely the SFM in July and the CIM in December!

And, hey, Michael!  Thanks again for giving me that "26.2" tee shirt last Christmas.  But this year, please, stay away any that say "50K" or "Ultra-Marathoner" because those will be staying in the dresser drawer!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Brand-New PR!

After a grueling week of work, during which I only managed two days of running (a 7 miler on Monday and a 6 miler on Wednesday), I wasn't feeling too confident about my scheduled long run yesterday.  The different plans I looked at had anywhere from 12 to 16 on the books, so I decided I would just get out there and see how it went.  The result:

I'm still in a state of shock over this new "PR."  (That's short for "personal record" for the non-runners reading this!)  My fastest official half marathon was the Kaiser Half a couple of years back (2:32. xx) , and my fastest training half marathon was last summer (2:30.xx).  To have actually broken 2:30 is thrilling for a back-of-the-packer like me!

At least some of the credit goes to my new running shoes, Newton Running's Lady Issaac Stability Guidance Trainer.
I read about Newton running shoes over the summer and was intrigued.  And skeptical.  But, I was curious enough to actually shell out the $149 to try them.  After dealing with the usual aches and pains during marathon training (shin splints, plantar fasciitis, hamstring issues), I was anxious to find out if these shoes could possibly work for me.

At this point, I am reserving final judgment, simply because I've only been using the Lady Isaacs for a few weeks.  It's going to take a while to determine if they are really the right shoes for me, especially given the fact that they cost $50 more than the shoes I have run in for the past 11 years (Adidas Trail Response).  Then again, I don't belong to a gym, so I don't shell out monthly dues.  Instead, I spend a lot of time out on the roads and trails, so investing in quality equipment is important.

Hopefully, the training I do in these new shoes over the next 3 weeks leading up to the Nike Women's Half Marathon and the 11 weeks leading up to the California International Marathon will render a final verdict!

The countdown continues...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thirteen Weeks and Counting...

While I was training for the San Francisco Marathon, I was cognizant of the fact that it was summer vacation.  This meant that I had time to devote to those 18, 20 and 22 milers.  I remember thinking, "There's no way I could do this during the school year!"  But then, the school year started, and along with it came the stress that defines every teacher's life from August until May (approximately, depending on where one teaches).

With the Nike Women's Half Marathon looming in October, I will still logging the miles, but it didn't feel quite the same.  Training for a half is a lot of work, no question about it, but I wasn't enjoying the cutback long runs of "only" 10-12 miles.  (Did I actually just write that?!??!)

The next thing I knew, I found myself scouring the web for winter/spring marathons.  I was "just looking," I told myself.  Several races looked interesting, but were already sold out.  The Napa Valley Marathon caught my eye, but it isn't until March, and they don't allow headphones on the course.  Running 26.2 miles without my trusty iPod and Mike Malloy Show podcasts?  Impossible!

I was just about to put the idea on hold when I received an e-mail about the California International Marathon.  This race takes place in Sacramento on December 4th.  I started to mull it over:  December 4th is doable as far as my school schedule.  My stepdad, a recent immigrant from Germany, has never been to Sacramento, so maybe we could make a weekend of it and take him to see the State Capitol, Old Town, etc.  It would also be fun to see my husband's family friend, "Monsy," who has retired in Sacramento, and to hopefully catch up with my old friend, Mo, at the race festivities (her daughter runs the race every year).

Anyone who knows me also knows that the holidays are not my favorite time of year (to put it mildly).  I'm thinking that 20-mile training runs could drown out the obnoxious side of the Christmas season for me.  If my marathon finish in July is any indication, I will likely be on a "high" for several weeks after the race, which could get me through to the new year without the usual holiday blues!

Within a few hours, I had made my decision:  Just do it!  

So the marathon books are off the shelf and back on the nightstand.  My training plan called for a 14 miler this past Saturday, and finishing it felt great!

When I told them I that I was going to do another marathon, my running friends said, "You've definitely caught the bug."  I'm pretty sure that's true, and I hope it's a good thing.

Thirteen weeks and counting...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Just back from a ten-mile run during which I couldn't help thinking of my dad.  During one of our last conversations, Dad asked me, "So, do you have any races coming up?"  That really touched my heart, because it showed that contrary to thinking I was crazy for doing all that running, Dad was actually proud of my athletic pursuits.

Dad, I miss you every day.