"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life is oh so good :)

Is it really only Wednesday? Today felt like a Saturday or Sunday filled with nothing but training, eating and a couple hot showers since it's ummm in the 40's and raining. all.day.long.and.tomorrow.all.day.long!!! At 6 am when my alarm went ring a ding ding in the dark, I did NOT want to get up. The cold weather outside and the fact I was about to do a 4 hour bike ride all around unknown hilly territory just kinda made me want to crawl back into bed and snooze away :) Nope, I turned the negative thoughts into positive real quick and before I knew I was flying on Mr. Specialized all the way down Bell Road and could see all the gorgeous city lights out in the distance.

Soon enough I met up with my friend Jo and we started our ride. I LOVED it. She took me on a big awesome loop through Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Rio Verde and up "9 mile hill" until we dropped back into Scottsdale and made our way back. I really enjoyed it and riding with someone else just makes it sooo much more enjoyable. I gobbled up 3 Mint Chocolate GUs along the way, while daydreaming about what hot beverage I would enjoy the second I walked in the door....ummm Gingerbread coffee..duh ;)-

A nice hot shower awaited me next. The rain rolled right into the valley the last 10 miles of the ride..numbing me to the core by the time I got home! I made a yummy lunch, hot coffee, tea and relaxed in sweats until workout #2 and possibly #3 if I decided to swim in the evening. My run at 3 pm turned into a running ice bath, as my shirt, gloves, shorts, shoes, compression socks and arm warmers dripped water galore as I hobbled up the driveway. Last time I had a run like today was back at Duke when it was high 30's and pouring rain! The last 2 miles of my ice run I definitely decided--screw a swim workout in the dark cold rain!

Anyway, this week of training has been pretty special in many ways. It's forcing me to do things I haven't done in months (swim and bike) and to realize that life is oh so great when you take it one day at a time. Those who know me reallllly well, know that I think very far into the future, not only with athletic goals but also life goals, plans, hopes, dreams, etc., often paralyzing me in the here and now to just GO for it. I change my mind on certain ideas sometimes in a matter of 12 hours! (athletic ideas). Therefore I decided to start working with a coach who I have known for about a year now. We have discussed coaching options a few times the past year and for one reason or another (mostly my fear of failure and therefore changing my mind), I usually opted to just do my own thing.

After so much analyzing, hard-core stressing and almost downright depression, I decided that it's time I put most of the decisions and analyzing into someone else's hands, while I follow blindly and work my butt off. Within the first two days of working together, he had already sent me some awesome little uplifting emails that just got me excited, because when you have a coach who totally believes in you and wants you to accomplish ALL your goals, it really keeps you going when things get HARD. The coach I am working with is Adam Zucco, with Training Bible Coaching (no it's not a religious group, lol). www.trainingbible.com and his blog: http://adamzucco.blogspot.com

He is great so far and I am so excited to be working with someone who continues to have incredible success with ALL of his athletes! Improvement is a sure sign you are on your way to becoming a better athlete! I also love the fact that he races triathlons as well and is damn good! 9:16 at Kona this year?!?! Adam will be coaching me with my running and triathlon goals, while also listening to what tends to work for me with my running, since I have been doing it for so many years. His all around triathlon knowledge, coupled with some tidbits from me on my running history will undoubtedly be a surefire coach-athlete relationship for awesome success!! I have a great feeling about 2011...hopefully a year of many dreams come true :)

*Once again no pic, sorry not on my computer again.

Quote for today: "It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for. It doesn’t interest me how old you are, I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine and still shout at the edges of a lake, river or mountain yes! It doesn’t interest me where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done for someone you love. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments in your life. Live more than your neighbors, unleash yourself upon the world and go places. Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, your life. Face your fears and live your dreams, take it all in, yes, every chance you get, come close; and yes, by all means what ever you do, get it on film." - John Blais

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Very Merry Week :) + "there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful"

Merry Christmas everyone and to those of you who don't celebrate Christmas I hope you all enjoy YOUR holidays you celebrate :) I have had a terrific week with good training, great friends, awesome family time and plenty of laughs! We had more dogs at our house today than people, HAHAHA..with the ones I am house sitting for and also our 4, it was a full house of love! The black lab kept getting in the pool which made my brother laugh so hard because the water is probably 50 degrees! I always love this holiday time of year and we only have one more night to celebrate, New Years! Then it's on to 2011 with plenty of new adventures, fun experiences and of course extremely hard work! I'm looking forward to a fresh new year that's for sure.

Training has been going pretty well. I have not added up my mileage for the week yet but tomorrow I'm doing my longest run in many months, 22 miles. I've had a little hamstring/butt issue going on that starts later in my runs so I'm hoping I feel ok tomorrow to get it done and practice with my water and GUs. I am going to try to do my next marathon with just water and GUs rather than the GU Brew electrolyte drink plus gels, because in New York it was just too much for me. I think in longer hotter races it's great, especially long distance triathlons or hot and humid weather marathons.

I started working for a company here in AZ that puts on athletic events around the state and so far it's great and totally something that fits my personality and interests. I can't wait to do the events and meet lots of great people. But wow, until now I never truly realized what goes on behind the scenes to put on an event and there is SO much to do! Triathlons are obviously more work since there are three different sports involved but even running or biking events are extremely intense. It makes me appreciate race directors and their entire team of workers. Not to mention the countless volunteers who do soooo much...I value my life as a professional runner even more since starting this job :) I feel very grateful and special to be able to do this in my life.

Anyway, I got a new Garmin from Triple Sports recently and I really like it because it has heart rate and it's the smaller version (Garmin 110). However I have to say, I prefer my Garmin Forerunner 405 much more. I really like how I can see individual mile splits, current and average pace, etc. It just has some additional features that I like. Triple Sports has plenty to choose from so I highly recommend getting one from them! You can also buy things online from them, sign up for their newsletter to get special coupons, etc. If you click on their logo on the side of my blog you will be directed to their site. I cannot wait to race my first triathlon of 2011 wearing their jersey! woo hoo! :)

A friend of mine recently said something to me that struck me pretty hard. We were talking about how so many people over-think decisions and they end up finding so many negative things about their idea, etc. and she calmly said "paralysis by analysis"...that's exactly what I do sometimes!! So my goal from here forward is to stop over thinking things and if I feel I want to do a certain race (or not) and work toward a certain goal, then I need to just DO it. There will always be good and bad days and days you question why you do something, but in the end you'll most likely be extremely happy you didn't give up on yourself when the going got tough.

Pic: Sorry no picture today..I'm not on my computer typing this :(

Quotes for today: "If you want to go somewhere you're never been before, you have to take a path you've never taken before....if you don't want the same results you've always gotten, quit doing the things you've always done."

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." I LOVE THIS QUOTE SOOOOO MUCH!! It relates to so many aspects of life... :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

30k, Dog #4, New GU! and..... Then There Were 3...:)

This morning my sissy and I had a great time going out to Rio Vista Park in Peoria to do the Desert Classic 30k. She had never run more than 15 miles in her life and ran this race around 6:49 pace!! I am soooo extremely proud of her and VERYYYY pumped to coach her when she's done running in college. She is bound to be a marathoner and I'll get her qualified for the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials :) The course was mostly on rolling and challenging bike paths yet there were basically no spectators except the people cheering for each other on the way back since it was an out and back course. I got excited for the turn around so I could see my friends racing and smile at everyone else! I ended up running slower than planned but with starting a new job recently, baking for friends, sponsors and family and trying to train...I've felt a bit tired. I ran alone and averaged 6:16's, which isn't bad. My friend Steve was 3rd overall and Sammy was 5th overall...so we got 1st, 3rd and 5th overall...pretty stellar for SSSStevo, SSSSammy and SSSSally, LOL

Next up in the Midnight Madness 3 mile race on New Year's Eve night and I am soooooo incredibly excited because my mom has been training and she will be running with my sister and I!! WOO HOO baby, that makes 3 of us together in ONE race for the first time ever. I trained my brother (natural runner) for the PF Chang's Half marathon in 2009 and he ran great; we still laugh about his hilarious stories of when he tried taking a GU ...man oh man fun times!...so now my mom is ready to run the 3 mile race and I am pumped. I get crazy excited and proud to see my family members accomplish running goals, more than anything I ever accomplish. Mom, Sam and I'll have to wear some fun matching outfit or something :)

Alsoooo, I have a 4th dog now and he is super adorable. A friend of mine could no longer care for her 2 year old Yorkie (Maxx) so I told her I could take him and bring him into our lil family :) So far, so good. Wilbur (mamma's boy) doesn't really like it when Maxx is near me and follows him wherever he goes to make sure he shows him who is boss. He has gotten much better about getting along with him and Barney and Winston have been good and love to play with him so I am happy. When you have 3 Terrier personalities to deal with, another one isn't much of a difference..just a bit more stubborn attitude to throw around ;)

Christmas is almost here and my shopping is DONE! yahhoooo..Sammy and I had fun driving around yesterday, blaring and singing to music, getting coffee, Baja Fresh and of course shopping for others turned into me also shopping for myself. Ooopsies ;) hence why I never go shopping just for the hell of it because you see so many things you want...thank goodness I had a ton of money in gift cards to spend on myself..good justification right?

I continue to take my training day by day and week by week. My planning for next year continues to remain in limbo, with me changing my mind every other day :) I know what I WANT for the year...now it's a matter of working backwards and planning it all out! I continue to run about 10-15 miles per day or so and that feels good. I rode Mr. Specialized with a friend of mine the other day. It was incredibly fun to be out riding and forget where I was and what I was doing because I had someone to talk to! I need to train more (esp on the bike and swim) with others, because it helps the time go faster.

GU has some new flavors coming out now and I am SUPER(*&^^% excited :)- I already received some Cherry Lime Roctane in the mail and they are yummmmmy. Another new item will be a new flavor of GU Chomps- Peach Tea! I LOVE LOVE LOVE sweet tea so I am hoping they are going to have that type of taste :) We will see..I'll keep you posted on what I think. All for now...another busy week coming up and finishing off with a great Christmas weekend!!

Pic: From XTERRA..(check out the ocean in the background!!)

Quote for today: "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success."- Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time To Race Like I Drive! :)

I absolutely love to drive my car. Freeways, road trips, anything that does not involve stopping much. High speeds are the most fun :) I hate driving slow and anything below 65 mph feels boring and I can feel myself tense up. Full throttle. Pedal to the metal is my favorite way to drive. Of course I slow down in neighborhoods, school zones, and anywhere the chance of a ticket is high. But put me on the freeway or open road and all I want to do is push my speedometer as far as I can without too much of a risk of seeing the red and blue lights pull up howling behind me. Two speeding tickets in 11 years of driving...not too bad ;) My dream car is a BMW M3, which will be my 30th b-day present to myself.. For now my Mini is incredibly fun, especially around turns without braking ;) Anyway,....

While driving the past few months I couldn't help but think about how pushing my limits while driving is something I need to do more in racing. I think racing has many similarities to driving over the speed limit. You can take the risk and get in the fast lane, typically joining those fellow drivers willing to risk a ticket going 10-20 over the speed limit. Or you could play it safe in the "other" lanes, going 5-9 over and most likely getting to your destination safely without a ticket, maybe only a minute or two later than those who risked a ticket in the fast lane. For me, driving in the fast lane, although riskier makes me enjoy driving so much more. It's thrilling to test myself, see if I have the guts to go with the FAST flow of drivers and of course it's more fun getting to my destination in record time.

Now when it comes to my training and racing, I've always enjoyed "red-lining it" so to speak, on tempo runs, long runs and certain speed workouts. In college my coach told me I was incredibly good at LOVING pain during a workout. Sometimes during the past year I found myself almost afraid to red-line my body, thinking I need to have something in the tank for the last mile or so. However I'm sick of doing that, teetering on the safe side...I need to get back in the faster, riskier lane of racing. When you least expect it, you have amazing races when you think you might blow up (speeding ticket while driving)...but most likely your body will hold up for you and you will finish just fine (no speeding ticket). During the XTERRA race last weekend I'm pretty sure my body was red-lining the last 12 miles, lol. But in the end I had a great day and I'm happy I continued to risk blowing up, saving the actual blow up until the finish line and in the med-tent, hahaha. Whenever I have had some incredibly memorable races in the past, it was when I was in that "fast" lane, risking everything and mentally a bit nervous if I could keep it up. In the end I usually did and had a fabulous finish. Now it's time to get back to training and racing gutsy, risky and FAST. After all, life is more fun in the fast lane, right? :)

Pic: My future baby

Quote for today: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."- Goethe

Monday, December 6, 2010

XTERRA Trail Run World Champion!! :):)

Laying here on my big bed relaxing after the XTERRA after party, with the sliding glass door open and gorgeous breezy weather blowing in has me feeling pretty good. However my body hurts and I think my calves grew by an inch today after the crazy terrain we raced on! I have my unbelievably beautiful handmade flower wreath, leafy green boa and yummy smelling real flower lei, layed out on my bed ready to try and make the journey home to AZ tomorrow :) My huge awesome metal sculpture trophy is waiting to break my back in my backpack on the way home as well, lol. There will be a video made my XTERRA on their website soon but we got to see it tonight and me flying off the side of the cliff and down a ravine left everyone laughing and me sitting in my chair grinning and laughing so hard my eyes were watering. I can laugh about the race now, yet let me tell you in great detail about this race this morning...

The bus ride to Kualoa Ranch was stunning. The gorgeous green cliffs and the beautiful ocean on the other side made me smile on the inside and I felt so happy to be racing in such a pretty place! I almost moved here two years ago when I was accepted to Teach For America yet declined due to the quarantine rules for animals and the cost involved, yet seeing it now for the first time makes me wonder how my life would be if I had taken that path instead...I guess I'll never know :) Anyway, I hung out sitting on the grass and eventually did an easy 1.5 mile warm up and light stretch since the temps outside were pretty warm. Due to the large amount of people still coming into the ranch and registering they moved the start of the race back 15 minutes...so more waiting around as the temperature climbed.

Gun went off and everyone got going on the course. Almost immediately the hills welcomed our already burning quads. There were two loops and the first shorter loop was not horrible and the hills were tough but not killer. The turn to start the second loop greeted us with a strong headwind and lots of hard hills, steep downhills, muddy areas so slippery and steep they had big ropes to hold on to, etc. By mile 6 I seriously wanted to die!! My legs hurt so bad and I didn't think I'd finish the race. I had so many horrible things going through my head and I felt like I was going to pass out at any moment! Somehow I managed to stay on my feet despite wanting to cry, scream and sit down for-just-one-minute!!*#&*%&*$ My legs wondered what the hell I was doing to them and at the steepest hill on the course they would not go any more. I HAD to start power walking...it felt almost just as bad as running. I moved as fast as I could and ran after a couple minutes, in fear the women behind me would catch me if I slowed too much. At one point I kinda screamed when a huge wild boar ran right in front of me across the trail grunting a freaky noise. I also got a little nervous when I came up on a huge group of cattle and they took a look at me coming and took off running..WOW it was crazy and they are such beautiful animals close up :)

The wider more rolling hills went on for a little while and my body stopped feeling like I was going to be buried at the ranch! The second horrible hill hit us around mile 9 and went on FOREVER. Once again, after the ridiculously long switch backs, I hit the water stop at the top and tried to get in some Gatorade and water yet most of it got spilled as I continued running. We hit the last quarter mile of rooty, narrow single track switchbacks and once again my quads gave out and I had to walk a bit. I started running again at the top and made the sharp turn left and my right leg went sliding off the side of the cliff and I went flying! HAHAHAHAHA..at the time I thought I was going to die and never stop rolling yet now I can laugh about it. The XTERRA camera guy continued filming me as he gave me his hand and helped pull me back up. I had so much dirt on me and he said to me "Are you sure you are ok? I have a radio"...I nodded and continued running, shocked at what had happened and happy I didn't seriously injure myself, lol. Another super cool thing we saw was the future site for a Hollywood film, The Lost World of Atlantis. It's being built in the middle of the ranch and it'll be interesting to see it when the movie comes out!

Somehow I kept my legs under me to win the race and become a World Champion :) I collapsed at the line and had to be treated in the medical tent with an IV, ice, etc. My body temperature was ridiculously high so I had to stay until it went down to below 101. They took great care of me and then I was off to get some food, drink, meet some super nice people, do interviews and then go to the awesome award ceremony. I took the bus back, showered, got my suit on and headed to the beach for a nice walk. The after party tonight was really fun and the slide show and video they made turned out great. I met some more great people and had a fun time. Overall it's been a fabulous mini vacation and I'm happy I decided to do the race.

I am not sure what I am going to do after this. I had planned on racing the Club XC Championships in Charlotte, NC this coming weekend but I may just go and cheer for my friends racing, or I'll race yet do it more for fun. I truly feel like I need a mental break from everything for a little while to just run when I want, swim, bike, do yoga or pilates, etc. and not have the pressure to be "ready" for a certain race. I have some mental confidence issues I need to work on and other personal goals before I can truly compete at my best. I think right now could be a great time to focus on these things. We'll see what happens...my mind is always working on some new plan...;)

Pics: various pics from the weekend events and in Hawaii (Waikiki)

Quote: "If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got"-Lee Iacocca

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving race + Hawaii soon! :)

Training has been going well and my 10 miler on Thanksgiving morning went really well. It was my first hard effort since the marathon and I felt so strong and in control. My time (57:29) is quite a bit faster than I wanted to run and I looked at my watch only about two times the entire race. I simply told myself to keep pushing hard and try to pass as many men in front of me as I could. The winds were crazy strong at certain points and it made me feel like I was back in NYC because it was so cold! I definitely think not doing a hard workout or race after NYC allowed me to feel pretty good for this race. Just running aerobically and doing runs I enjoyed helped me process NY and move on to future goals.

My mileage just kinda "happened" the past two weeks because I did runs based off how I felt and not hitting a certain number each week. This week I hit about 82 miles and the week before was 66, so taking the week following the marathon pretty relaxed (25 miles) was a good idea. I'm continuing to not worry about getting in certain types of workouts and I run on average at least 10 miles per day, do my core/ST every other day, drills every other day, stretch and roll on my foam roller every day, take ice baths in mom's pool, etc. :)

I decided to go to Hawaii (Oahu) this coming weekend and I cannot wait to stay in Waikiki because the only island I have been to is the big island (Hawaii) and went to cool cities there (Kona and Hilo). It will be great to relax on the beach and be in temps in the 80's since it's been in the 50's and 60's here! When I was planning my trip I looked up races I could maybe do when I am there. I knew the Honolulu marathon is the 11th but I didn't know if there would be anything on the weekend of the 4/5th. Lucky me!...the XTERRA World Half Marathon championships are on the 5th in Kualoa Ranch, the same place where many movies and shows have been filmed (Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Magnum PI). I am excited to do a different type of race (trail/jungle) and do something FUN without lots of pressure on a certain time or place. The video from last year and the pictures just look incredible and beautiful :)

My plans for 2011 are coming along well and I am getting excited and a bit nervous for some events and races. I know I have to take it one week at a time and believe that it will all fall into place. Committing to something is the hardest step in my opinion. Once you mail in that check or charge your credit card the entry fee, you are IN and you know that you must do it (unless injured of course). The most exciting part of being an athlete for me is the traveling and meeting new people. It's fun to reap the rewards of all the hard work. Racing (once the gun goes off) is so much more fun than training! :) I'm excited for 2011 and everything it may bring into my life.

Pic: XTERRA race location

Quote: "Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving."- Maxwell Maltz

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holidays and planning a new year, oh my! :)

Weather here in the Phoenix area is quite cold right now with highs in the 60's or high 50's..brrr for me! However it definitely makes us feel like we actually live somewhere with different seasons ;) I enjoy this time of the year with Thanksgiving in a couple days, my birthday a couple weeks later, Christmas time and then New Years! I always love baking, cooking and buying gifts for those I care about, so right now I am super excited for the next few weeks leading up to 2011.

Speaking of the new year, I am in the midst of deciding on which races to do and what my big focus will be. A fall marathon is definitely out of the question due to the Olympic Trials being in January of 2012. That leaves the option for a big marathon in the spring or early summer. I am not sure what I will do because I am still deciding on whether to do a marathon in January or not. There are so many great races in the spring that I want to do so I doubt I will do a marathon in the Feb/March time frame. As far as triathlon race plans, I'm currently working on which ones I want to do and fitting them around my running races. I think since I won't have a big fall marathon to gear up for I may have a *BIG* triathlon goal to go after in the fall, if things fall into place like I want them to. hehe, we'll see ;)-

With my 27th birthday upon me, I realize I'm not getting any younger and time flies faster every.single.year. I love talking to my friends and mentors who I look up to for advice, including my sis and mom. However sometimes I do best when I think and analyze things on my own and let my own gut make my decisions. After all, at the end of the day you have to do what YOU want, or you'll never have that passion that's so crucial to accomplishing your goals. I have certain lifetime dreams I wrote down about 3.5 years ago when my life changed drastically and I drove HOME from Durham, NC, my home for 5 of some of the best years of my life. Some of those dreams I've already accomplished. Some are future goals that I know won't happen for a few more years. Others are totally in my control and I'm kinda sick of putting them on the back burner.

I'm the type of person that when I want something, I go after it. Therefore I'm thinking I'll shut off all the outside comments, advice, ridicule, etc. and do what Sally wants. We must go after things that make us feel proud of ourselves, happy and smile. Yes there will be bumps in the road....but it's about the journey to get where you are hoping to go and when you've done it, will you be happy you did it, or if you don't, will you be mad you chose not to? Some of the best experiences of my life are things I decided to do on a whim or just simply did not "overthink" them...i.e. Going to Duke when I immediately fell in love with the campus on my visit, registering for the Cancun 1/2 Ironman when I'd never done a Tri and didn't own a bike, buying my 3 amazing dogs, registering for my first marathon and then qualifying for the '08 Trials, etc. A great thing my friend Cynthia told me once was "you learn by acting, by doing, you figure things out, and worse case scenario if things don't work, you can come back to where you started"...great advice :)

Anyway, I'm excited to finish off 2010 on a positive note, do local races here in AZ and continue to figure out my major goals for 2011 :) Good luck to you all as you race the rest of the year and happy holidays!!

Pics: One of the pics my friend and fabulous photographer took for me recently (Megan Powers-if interested in hiring her please contact me!) and me racing is courtesy Andy Dickinson from NYC marathon

Quote for today: "I think there is something, more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision."- W. Clement Stone

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lady Gaga?, NYC Recap + New Groove

Well well well, I'm finally back in AZ and updating my blog! :) I didn't bring my computer to NYC so I wouldn't have to worry about checking email, facebook, etc. I'll try to keep everything somewhat brief, since I've already had over a week now to think about my race.

The week leading up to the race left me feeling pretty relaxed and not rushed or panic-stricken that I didn't have enough time to put my feet up, as is the case at some races. I had the pleasure of driving (or should I say sitting) in NYC traffic at rush hour, (we moved 3 blocks in 1.5 hours)..laughable now yet worst experience driving EVER! :0( Anyway, mom and I had fun watching Sammy and her team race at the Big East Championships in Syracuse and then enjoyed a few days with her before settling smack dab in the middle of mid-town Manhattan the last days leading up to the race.

I had a blast decorating my bottles with leopard print duct tape, bright pipe cleaners and some frilly red stuff to add some fun. I attached my Jet Blackberry GUs, labeled them for my specific tables, took pics (as you can see above) and dropped them off at the hotel. The pre-race technical meeting got my heart racing and I had to take a few deep breaths when I felt incredibly nervous. Mom, Sam and I went to dinner together and came back to the hotel to relax for the night.

Surprisingly I slept pretty well for the few hours I managed to fall asleep. Mom and Sam walked me to the big charter buses awaiting all the elite athletes. Police cars and motorcycles escorted us through the city and over to Staten Island. I hung out and relaxed in the nice heated tents before warming up and eventually heading to the start line with the rest of the women. I made sure my awesome leopard arm warmers were in place and also put vaseline all over my legs and some on my face to protect me from the wind and cold. I found out after the race that Toni Reavis likened my clothing style to "a faster version of Lady Gaga" on the NBC broadcast, LOL...who knew pink and leopard is so eye catching? :)

The race started off at a pedestrian 6:54 first mile..I looked at my watch once when I felt like we were jogging and we were!!- 7 min pace at one point! I thought to myself "please don't have this be another Boston-2009 race"...thank goodness things swiftly quickened at the mile mark and the race got rolling. Some women took off super fast but I stuck to running around my goal pace and not kill my legs in the first 5-10k. I eventually passed all the women ahead of me and at one point I knew I was making ground on the lead pack and someone yelled to me that I was only 36 seconds back. I felt great and excited to be hitting my goal of running my miles in the 5:40's.

Unfortunately everything changed around mile 10. I started to have a side cramp on my right side and it wouldn't go away. My pace gradually slowed as the pain felt like a knife going deeper and deeper. The last 10 miles I had hope to at least run 6 min pace or just under, in order to at least run sub 2:35. As the miles ticked away my hopes and dreams slipped down the drain as well. I started to get upset and fought back tears while trying not to have a major asthma-type breathing freak out moment. I'll spare you the horrible thoughts that went through my head but they were so awful and things someone should never think about themself. It's amazing what pain and feelings of embarrassment can do to your mentality. Somehow I managed to finish in 2:41 flat and walked back to the hotel with legs that felt like they had just done a hard long run. I have to say though that the crowds this year were AMAZING. I have never had so much support and screaming from everyone on the sidelines! I think having my first name across my bib helped yet it still shocked me how great they were. I got through the hardest moments in the race because of the people cheering. It definitely tops the list for best crowds now...:)

Right now I am not sure on when I will do another marathon. I have thought as early as a couple months from now or I may wait a bit longer. It all depends on how the next few weeks go for me. I took two days off after NYC, did not feel sore AT ALL and my runs every day since last Wed when I started running have felt good. I'm planning to go with my gut instinct and race when I feel I'll be ready to tackle it all over again. I know my fitness still exists and I desperately want to show myself and all my supporters what I am REALLY capable of. The NYRR do such a fantastic job taking care of us athletes and I cannot thank them and all their staff members enough! Hopefully I'll be back someday to race a much faster marathon :)

I definitely enjoyed the past week of eating the foods I didn't eat for 82 days!! I had some fun doing a little shopping at my favorite store- True Religion!! :):) and brought back some goodies for D and K. Now only if they made dog shirts, hehe ;) I went to New Haven, CT with a friend of mine to watch Sammy race in her NE Regional XC Champs and that was fun. The weather was beautiful and I lost my voice (still) from screaming at her so much. Now it's time to get in a new groove of training and racing, continue to have fun with what I do and most importantly, stay relentlessly positive about making all my dreams come true. One sub-par performance can't tear you down forever...

Pics: From Sammy's races, my special fluid bottles and me before the race at the hotel

Quote for today: "Our greatest battles are that with our own minds."- Jameson Frank

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Brief Chat" + It's time to go....:):)

As I packed up my car today and put my boys in the backseat, I pulled out of the driveway and took one last look at my brother's awesome house that I love so much...the house where I've lived and trained since I moved back almost exactly one year ago. I thought to myself that the next time I'll see the house will be when this long exciting and challenging journey of training for NYC will all be over and it will be time to start another one all over again. It seems like just yesterday I took the short drive out to the dirt paths where I run all the time, to test my plantar fascia in my foot, on June 14th. I almost cried the first 200 meters of that run because I was filled with so much joy to be running again! The months of filling the freezer with bags of ice are over, clean sheets and clean rooms await my return, my little loves will cover me with kisses when they see me again and the 6 am traffic won't see me shuffling along the roads for hours every morning :)

Here I am a few months after starting to run again, very excited and feeling very ready to go race the *BEST* marathon of my career thus far. The last time I had this feeling of excitement (and not fear/negativity) was before the 2009 PF Chang's marathon. I think when you know you are ready and have trained very hard, you feel excited and not afraid :) (hehe, Eminem)

The hundreds of hours dedicated to training are coming to an end and in about 10 days I'll let it all out over the course of 26.2 miles through the 5 awesome boroughs of NYC. I finished my last hard workout this morning of 5x1k and felt good hitting them in 3:12, 3:07, 3:07, 3:06 and 3:06. Here are some things I'm excited about before my race:

*Watching Sammy run in her Big East Championships this Saturday!
*Chatting and catching up with Sammy about everything going on in her life!
*Decorating my bottles with my adorable leopard print duct tape!! :):)
*Going to eat at yummy restaurants in the city and also cooking at Sammy's house
*Resting and not having to do tons of working out

I'm superrrr excited for this stuff AFTER the race:

*BEER! and lots of it:):)
*Crumbs bakery cupcakes!!!!! :)-
*Magnolia Bakery banana pudding!
*Corner Bakery angel food cake!
*Dunkin Donuts maple donuts :)-
*Making my homemade popcorn and watching movies with Sammy :)
*Mexican food, chips and salsa, Margaritas, etc. mmm :)-
*SHOPPING and getting special stuff...Louboutins baby!!! ow ow :)
*Swimming and doing relaxed runs/exercise for a couple weeks :)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next 16 days in NYC..it's going to be a blast.

Here is the link to the "Brief Chat" I did for Runner's World. http://racingnews.runnersworld.com/2010/10/a-brief-chat-with-sally-meyerhoff-2.html

*** I also made the title of my blog a link to the chat if you don't want to have to cut and paste this...sorry I can't figure out how to add a link right here

I am soooo thankful to all my sponsors, fans, friends and family who support me and give me so much positivity and enthusiasm for what I do. I hope to make them all very proud when I race on the 7th! My bib number I believe is going to be 134 so if you want to "follow" me via texting, etc. that should be my number. :)

Pics: My Scottie pumpkin I carved last night while D, K and I had some carving fun :) and my shirt I bought in MN...how perfect is it??! A red head with the saying "What's hard to endure...is sweet to remember".....here's a big toast to a very sweet race to remember :)

That'll be my quote for today: "What's hard to endure,...is sweet to remember"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The "Haves" and "Have Nots"

As the days wind down and the time gets closer to leave for NYC, I have been thinking about everything I have and have not done in order to make this marathon the best thus far in my career. If you watch the reality show Big Brother, I stole the title from it, hahaha

Let's see...I HAVE:

*Trained harder and longer than ever before in my life
*Hit all time highs in my mileage
*Done workouts I didn't think were possible
*Stayed dedicated to my training even when tempted to "go easier"
*Pushed through the negative-mindset days
*Stayed tough while training alone 99% of the time

*Had much of a social life (past 8 pm) due to being up at 5 or 5:30 every day :)
*Had any alcoholic drink since my last night in Cabo (July 25th!)
*Had any sweet treats, desserts, candy, etc...(as of today it's been 69 days!!)
*Given up on myself when I thought there was no possible way I could continue to suffer....

I am sure there are a lot of things I could add to these lists but this is good for now. Next up will be my lists of what I'm getting SUPER excited for pre and post race in NYC!! :):)

This past week seemed to drag on forever and the when the weekend started at 2:42 pm on Friday afternoon, I bolted from school for fresh air and no stress! My workouts the rest of the week went well after I had to take a couple days of running easy to recover from the 15x 1 mile workout. My run the next morning after that workout was the SLOWest run I've done in years, LOL...but my upper hamstrings and hips needed it :) My mileage hit about 74 which left me feeling fine. This week will be about 55, which I'm hoping isn't too little. I never thought I'd say this, but running higher mileage does make the taper seem so much more drastic! However I know I need to wind down, let my muscles heal and store up the glycogen so I can run faaaaast in TWO WEEKS!!

I ran a 15 mile long run this morning and I couldn't believe how well I did with gradually dropping my pace every single mile. My splits: 6:58, 53, 46, 41, 37, 32, 30, 26, 24, 22, 17, 14, 14, 09, and 5:58...avg of 6:28 :):) I felt pretty darn happy with that. I took an ice bath, biked to the grocery store, took a nap, etc. and enjoying a nice relaxing Sunday.

I'm starting to pack for NYC and I'll be there for a total of 16 days...well, trying to fit everything in a carry on size roller bag is interesting but I'm determined to make it work. When we get there we have to rush to get our rental car in time to drive to upstate NY to see my sister for dinner before her Big East Champs the next morning! woo hoo baby :) Ok that gave away one thing I'm excited for...better stop now or I'll keep rambling things off :)

I did a "Brief Chat" for Runner's World so when the link is up I'll post it on here...I hope it's good! :)

Pic: The beautiful desert I live in....

Quote for today: "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot."- Roosevelt, Eleanor

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

777 and 15x1 mile= borderline torturous :)

I'm not an incredibly superstitious person but something I thought about the other day regarding NYC marathon...7 has been my "lucky" number since I was in middle school. Well, NYC will be my 7th marathon and it's on November 7th...then I thought about how my number for NYC is going to be F 34...3 + 4 = 7....:):)...sooo I'm thinking these are some very "lucky" signs that NYC will be all that I've ever hoped for. Here's to an amazing 777 marathon...haha

My day off yesterday was very nice and I managed to stay pretty busy despite not having any running or working out to do. I packed up everything I need for the week since I'll be teaching Wed-Fri and staying at mom's house...I also took my baby loves to get groomed, did a couple errands, made my Heaven bars for my mom (with dried cherries instead of dates, YUM!) and did some stuff around the house. It felt great to relax though and I slept until 8:10 in the morning! 10 hours of sleep :)...my body woke me up at 5:30 but I forced myself to try and sleep longer :)

As the evening wound down last night I started to get a little nervous for my 15x 1 mile workout this morning. I hoped my body would hold up for me after my 22 miler only 48 hours prior. Mom was going to try and come down to be with me for the workout but her work schedule wouldn't allow that. I had planned to do the workout tomorrow but with teaching I knew I had to move it to today due to lack of sunlight in the mornings now and not wanting to be rushed. Anyway, I felt ok for the first few and then suddenly after I finished the 7th one, I thought to myself "oh my gosh, I have EIGHT left?!?! what the heck...I don't know if I can do this"...I told myself to focus on one at a time and try to get through it. I started to have a bad side cramp after 10 of them and felt like my legs were shuffling more and more. I could tell my legs were "bonking" so to speak, after about 10, so I had a difficult time focusing. I'm happy I managed to run them all in 5:35 or faster and never gave up on myself. I struggled to stay focused because I kept thinking how much I wanted to be DONE and how bored I was, hahaha :)

I'm pretty sure my 22 miler on Sunday made me feel a little more fatigued today. My total mileage for today was 21.85!! My splits for the miles: 5:33, :33, :35, :31, :32, :31, :34, :33, :32, :32, :34, :34, :35, :34, :33. Soooo happy it's done and pretty proud of myself for sticking with my schedule and doing it, yet still shocked I actually did it! Pretty sure I don't ever want to do it again though, LOL ;)

Pic: My excitement to be in Cabo...I'll be doing this pose after the marathon for sure! :):)

Quote for today: "If you had... one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?"- Eminem

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Island Nectar Roctane, Singlet is ready, Long run confidence + COMPLETE day off! :)

Just when I thought GU had plenty of amazing flavors to choose from, they added another for a limited time only! Island Nectar Roctane :) yummm...I was thoroughly excited when my package of Island Nectar, Mint Chocolate and Vanilla Gingerbread arrived last week! The Island Nectar tastes so yummy..a mix of tropical flavors that taste fresh and make me feel like I'm actually in Hawaii :) If you love GU, I promise you'll be happy if you quickly order a pack before they are gone!

Last night I finished up getting all my sponsors on my singlet. I still needed to get the Triple Sports logo on my singlet because I've been wearing their visor in races yet haven't had their logo screened yet. I am out of time to actually get it done before I leave for NYC, so I went to their store and Kara and I picked out a Headsweats hat with their logo embroidered on it. I cut it out of the hat yesterday and I fit in on the upper right of the singlet so I'm happy I didn't have to put it on the back or on my skirt! I put a photo of it up here and it's ready to go..I may sew on a small GU logo on the front since I only have it on the back right now, and possibly an American flag patch. I also have a little Scottish Terrier patch that I may add as well, so I can think of them the entire 26.2 :)

My pre-race long run simulation went really well today! I started by acting as if yesterday were a pre-race day. I did my run and drills in my typical early morning hours and proceeded to shower, eat and relax all day :) I did some paperwork to be ready for tax time next year, checked email, watched TV and made some fresh homemade dog treats for my boys. Later on I took them for a walk (more like a sled dog race!) and then ate my dinner early like I usually do before a race. I got to bed by about 8:30 and I think I fell asleep around 9. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and immediately made my rice with honey and coffee. I drank about 10 oz of my GU Raspberry brew and then started to dress like I would for the race. Of course I didn't wear arm warmers, gloves or a headband like I may need in NYC, but everything else was exactly how I'll dress for the race.

I got out the door right around 6 a.m. with only a tiny bit of light coming into the sky. I opted for NO music on this run (first time ever for a long run), to really focus as if it were a race. I got started off on a great clip feeling totally relaxed and eventually I got in a groove. I started at 6:49 and quickly got down to the 6:40's, 6:30's and then two at 6:20, with my final few from 6:15 down to 5:54 :) My average pace for the 22 miles was 6:30. I'm happy with the run and feel VERY confident for NYC now. My legs feel totally fine and overall my body, breathing and everything didn't feel like I was "going to the well" so to speak. :)

I took an ice bath, made homemade french toast and now I'll relax until I do my core/ST later today. I'm EXTREMELY excited for tomorrow because it's my first day completely OFF from doing any sort of working out at all, in many many weeks! I'm going to sleep in as long as I can...although my body may wake me up pretty early since I'm so used to it. However I'll spend the day laying around, resting and enjoying a complete recovery day! woo hoo :) This past week was right around 93 miles and this week I'll take it down a notch to 70...let the gradual taper begin baby...

I'm working on a mental "list" of everything I'm excited for with the pre-race stuff, race stuff and post-race FUN..so I'll post that in the next week or so...It's going to be pretty funny :)

Quote for today (inspired by my mom's words to me): "Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve."- Mary Kay Ash

Pics: front and back of my racing top + my boys with it...they thought it was for tug-of-war but then stopped biting at it and modeled with it for me ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta from scratch + lonely dark mornings until....

your sister responds to your text at 5:30 am and calms you down enough to start your workout. My mind was a bit nervous for my workout this morning and therefore I kept waking up, starting at 4 am, until my alarm went off at 5. You would have thought it was a pre-race night with the way anxiety crept in. I got up and basically struggled to get my mind right and feel good about what I was doing. Sometimes I just feel so selfish with running professionally and not working another full time job; it makes me feel like I don't do enough with my life. Sam helped me feel more positive and reminded me that the hardest days to get going are the most important to get the hard work done. I popped in my Eminem CD driving to the road for my mile repeats, listened to "Not Afraid" and then got going with my warm up. I did 12x1 mile with 2 min recovery and hit them all in 5:34 or faster with my splits being 5:34, :32, :32, :27, :33, :30, :34, :34, :33, :32, :31, :24. A smile spread across my face when I finished and started to make my way back to my car. I treated myself to a large Caramel Machiatto from Tully's afterward :)

It's very hard getting up in the dark, going downstairs alone and getting ready for an extremely challenging workout, having your dogs look at you like "why the HECK are you up right now mom?!" and my body just wanting to run easy or go back to bed for a few hours! Yet the rest of this week and then next week are my last really hard weeks. When I'm in NYC in a few weeks I need to look back on everything I've been though these past few months, healing my foot (:)), working so.damn.hard. and realize that 26.2 miles needs to be a two and half hour celebration of my dedication, not something to be super nervous about or feared.

I have always wanted to get involved with the New Balance Girls on the Run program, so I think I'm going to look into volunteering with them here in the Phoenix area. Ever since I coached for a couple years at my old high school, I've wanted to get back into inspiring young kids and helping them get fitter, healthier and have fun doing it. Doing something like this will help me mentally because I always feel better when I can give back something to this amazing sport that has given me SOO much in life already. It makes me feel so good inside when I see kids get excited about running and achieving their goals.

Yesterday I went on a baking frenzy and made pumpkin spice muffins and cornbread from scratch. Then I decided to finally use my pasta roller and make pasta noodles from scratch for a big dinner for D, K and I :) It was soooo cool to make the dough and then cut it in pieces, roll it through the machine until it was just right, and then roll it through the linguine and spaghetti rollers. I put some pics up of the pasta drying on the counter and then in the strainer after I cooked it. Plain and simple..it.was.DELICIOUS!!! We all looooved it and I can't wait to make it again!! So yummy and 10 times better than dried pasta bought in the store :)

Quote for today: "Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success."- David Joseph Schwartz

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wow, what a week!

100.8 miles. WOW, I can officially say I have run 100 miles in one week of training. I definitely felt it during my trail race yesterday and during my long run today which I ran a bit slower than usual until the last few miles. My days were all singles and starting on Monday went: 5, 16, 13, 15, 16, 14 and 21. I did 3 days of my core/ST, got a massage on Thursday and took naps on 4 of the days. A couple ice baths in there also helped keep me feeling pretty good. The highlights of the week definitely have to be the 10x mile repeats and breaking my old course record at the Cactus Cha Cha Trail race out at the White Tank Mountains by over a minute :)

The Cha Cha trail races are really fun and something different than the typical road races every weekend. With all the trails we have in AZ I'm surprised we don't have more trail races. The one yesterday (7 mile course) challenges you a lot, especially with all the rocky sections, technical downhill and a huge hill around mile 4 of the race! Afterward they have good food (especially the breakfast burritos), a raffle with tons of prizes and awesome awards that are really unique, basically a piece of flagstone with a Cactus statue on top of it with an engraved piece of metal, etc. Mom came to cheer me on and then we went to have breakfast with some friends afterward; fun times! :)

Following friends and watching the LIVE feed of the Ironman world championships yesterday ignited so many emotions in me. My eyes welled up with tears many times, feeling excited and proud to see how well they finished, feeling downright inspired to GO to Kona and race like I've always wanted to, feeling very sad and horrible for withdrawing from the event and lastly, feeling motivated and determined to race to the best of MY ability in 4 weeks when I toe the line in NYC. Commentary from Paula Newby Fraser resonated with me when she talked about so many athletes who go into their big event with a "first or failure" mentality and therefore they lose site of the love of what they do and the enjoyment they get from it. It's exactly what I've been dealing with in regards to my marathon.

What I (and anyone) has to remember is that you train and work very hard for so many months and on race day, it's time to let it all flow and come together. The marathon is unique in that it's more about where your own personal fitness is, and not necessarily starting the race saying "I'll stay with her". Unless you are in world record shape, there is never a guarantee you can stay with any specific person; they may blow up and race too slow and in general it's not smart to base YOUR race plan on someone else. You have to control what you can and not worry about what's out of your control. Yes, there is something to be said for RACING others, because why else go do it? However you have to stay within yourself and what you are prepared for because for example, why race the first half much faster than you are able to run for the whole race?

Anyway, this week I'll run around 90 miles and for workouts, I have a day of mile repeats, a day with a longer run plus fast 400's at the end and then on Sunday I'll do my closest simulation of a race as possible. i.e. exact pre-race foods, outfit, shoes, etc. I'll also be doing it at specific paces to really see where my fitness lies and if I can hit the splits I want to hit to get an indication of what I can hold for the marathon...should be a good week.

Pics: From Cactus Cha Cha

Quote for today: "The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed."- Richard B. Sheridan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10x1 mile, Homemade granola/protein bars + running HAPPY :)

I'm so extremely happy and proud of myself for my workout this morning. I did 10x1 mile out on the same road where I did 8x1 mile 2 weeks ago, and I felt pretty darn good :) I had a much more positive attitude toward the workout and although I knew it would challenge me, I thought about how confident and excited I'd be AFTERward if I hit my times. I definitely hit my goal of running all of them in 5:35 or faster (except one against the headwind, which I hit in 5:36 and then proceeded to run as fast as I could on the last one to make up for it, lol) :) I had two minutes jog recovery between each and my times were 5:35, :32, :31, :27, :29, :28, :34, :30, :36 and :24. I drank acai pomegranate coconut water after each 2 that I did and after the 6th I ate a Jet Blackberry gel. I think I'll stick with using my GU Brew for the marathon because I think the coconut water is too thick and concentrated for my stomach to handle when running hard. It's great for long bike rides but not great for my running it seems. I also am trying out a different food to eat before the marathon because I just think toast/bagels are too heavy for me and take too long to digest. During the 10 miler I think my bagel was still in my stomach and it made me feel sick during the race. I've heard a lot of athletes who eat rice or cream of rice cereal the morning before, so I tried about 1/4 cup of rice this morning with honey and I reallllly liked it! I'll try a bit more before my race on Sat and my long run Sunday and see how I respond but this morning it seemed great.

Yesterday I FINALLY went to the grocery store and got all the ingredients I needed to make some homemade granola protein bars that I've had a recipe for, for ummmm maybe two years?! LOL I have been meaning to make them and I came across the recipe again the other day so I finally did it and OH.MY.GOSH. they are so good I'm calling them my "Heaven" bars :) They are made with natural peanut butter, honey, bit of vanilla extract, rolled oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, raw almonds, unsweetened coconut and dates. DELISH. One more thing I'll for sure be selling at my bakery someday...:)

After my race on Sunday I was SO down all day Monday...I had an annoying day teaching kindergarten all day and after getting up at 5 to run, teaching all day and then doing my core and ST, I was in a horrible mood and exhausted! I drove home with all my stuff and my boys from staying at mom's after the race on Sunday night and after unloading and unpacking I went to make some tea. On the Yogi tea tags they have cool sayings and I opened mine which read "Appreciate yourself and honor your soul". Then the next day I opened another that read "May your inner self be secure and happy". WOW. Can we say I was meant to read those?! They really made me smile and definitely helped me change my perspective on things, especially with my running. There are so many things with being a professional runner that can get in your head and ruin the enjoyment you get from the sport. Worrying about making money, wondering WHY I fell short of a goal, feeling insecure about body image, etc. aren't going to propel you forward and help you make improvements. If anything, they will tear you down mentally to the point of hating what you do. Thank goodness for my Yogi tea tags because they lifted my spirits and totally turned my mindset around. I'm doing what Brooks tells us all to do....run HAPPY :)

I'm looking forward to my massage later and then Tom Petty concert tonight!

Pics: From the 10 miler. My friend Bill took them for me.

Quote for today: "Those who have easy, cheerful attitudes tend to be happier than those with less pleasant temperaments, regardless of money, ‘making it’, or success." - Dr. Joyce Brothers

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race recap + staying focused and positive

This is my blog I wrote earlier today on the plane…

I’m sitting here on the plane struggling mentally and physically after my race this morning. Physically, I’m hoping I don’t have to sprint down the aisle to throw up since I had to drink 115 oz. of gross Powerade and water in order to fill my drug testing cup to it’s necessary line. Let’s just say my 5 mile cool down after the race with all the fluid in my stomach was the most painful cool down of my life!

Mentally I’m struggling because I can’t seem to think of any really positive things to come away with from the race. I really wanted to challenge for the win or at least finish in the top 3 yet I was never within spitting distance of the leaders after about the 2nd or 3rd mile at the most. I followed my race plan of staying as relaxed as possible until Summit Ave and then pushing as hard as I could those last few miles to the finish. However as I was slowly catching Jen Rhines who was in 3rd, two girls behind me were hunting me down. One passed me with about a mile and half left (Alissa) and I tried to go with her for a little while, both of us passing Jen, and then as we got to the 9th mile I knew I needed to totally put the hammer down. I kept digging deep and running as strong as I could. As we made the turn to the final downhill to the finish I was sprinting as hard as I could but the other girl behind me (Meghan) passed me right before the finish line.

My time 55:22, is relatively good for the very uphill course yet far from the 54:38 I ran at Cherry Blossom in 2009. The weather was very cold and my upper thighs were practically numb. I wore a fleece headband and gloves along with my CEP compression socks and I still felt pretty cold. It gave me a good reminder for what NYC will feel like though, possibly even colder! 5th place at a National Championships isn’t horrible, yet I’m just not satisfied. No, I didn’t taper for it and NYC is my focus right now, yet I’d feel so much better if I had at least held off the two women who beat me at the end by only a few seconds. I know I ran as hard as I could those last couple miles and my 10th mile was a 5:15 and my last little bit (course was a bit long) was at 5 min pace, so at least I didn’t completely fall apart. Beating myself up about it and being down definitely doesn’t help me when moving forward with training this week and with it being my FIRST ever week hitting 100 miles, I need to get excited and look forward to a great race in NYC in 5 weeks! :0) It’s easier said than done though, so I’m hoping by Tuesday I’ll feel better….At least it's nice to come home to people who love me and think I raced awesome no matter what :)

A couple good things over the weekend were: good weather (no rain or severe wind) and I was able to see and talk with my sponsor from MarathonGuide.com. He called me the night before the race too, which was really nice to hear from another person who believes in my abilities. It felt good to wear his logo proudly during the race and talk to him about everything afterward. Another weird thing is that the results have me being from New York! That’s definitely wrong and I’m pretty sure it’s because my agent lives in NY and she registered me. I like showing my AZ pride though and I tried to get it changed but they didn’t do it in time ☹

I’m sub teaching tomorrow and having an easy, short day of running plus my core/ST and then the week gets cranking with some long runs, a race on Saturday and another hard day of mile repeats on Thursday. I think I’ll celebrate on Sunday after my long run with some of my amazing homemade pancakes☺☺

Quote for today: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.”-
Dale Carnegie

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cravings, Running slooow, Chomps for Dots and Routine = good results

Tomorrow I leave for Minnesota for the USA Women’s 10 mile National Championships and I am getting excited! I look forward to the cooler weather, seeing friends, relaxing and resting, RACING ☺ and then hopefully watching the marathon that starts about one hour after my race starts. Should be a fun and fast weekend! ☺ If you want to watch the races LIVE online, go to: http://www.runnerspace.com/USARunningCircuit

They will be streaming races all morning!

Lately I have had intense cravings for many things I am not allowing myself to eat right now: potato chips, my homemade popcorn, donuts, etc. Running by Bashas every morning and smelling their donuts being fried doesn’t help either! Haha. The one thing I’ve been daydreaming about EVERY single run is Crumbs Bakery in NYC. I cannot wait to go there again after the race! ☺ Instead of giving into these things I am trying to eat other things to satisfy the cravings. I think wanting chips and popcorn means I want salt and some fat, so I eat a baked potato with salt and pepper and olive oil or something like that. It definitely tastes good and is a bit healthier so that’s good ☺ It just makes me SO excited for after the marathon when I can spend a full week indulging and enjoying things I haven’t eaten in a long time. So far it’s been 45 days of no sweets, junk food, etc. and like 65 days of no alcohol!

One thing I have noticed about my training during this marathon stint is that my easy/aerobic days are definitely SLOWER than they have ever been. I tend to run around 20-30 seconds slower per mile than I used to during marathon training phases. It’s probably because most of my days are singles and this is the highest mileage I have ever done for so many weeks in a row. As long as I hit the times I want to hit on my long runs and hard workouts, I have plenty of confidence in my fitness. I just allow my body to run how it wants to on my easier days because if I constantly push the pace I know I’ll get injured or not run as fast as I want to on my hard days.

Dots are some of my favorite candies that I am not able to eat right now, so I decided to put 2 of each flavor of my GU chomps in little snack bags for when I am really craving some sugary treat. So I have Cranberry Apple, Watermelon, Strawberry and Blueberry Pomegranate Chomps ready to enjoy when I feel the craving for candy. At least the Chomps have some Amino acids, vitamins, no food dyes and better ingredients than Dots, HA!

Lately my body wakes me up around 5 am every morning, even if my alarm is set for a slightly different time. It’s amazing how fast our bodies get into a routine and must want to stay in a regular routine, hence wanting to wake up around the same time. Two big training times in my life when I had big breakthroughs (Fall 2004 XC season at Duke and winter training 2008-09 before 4 minute Marathon PR at PF Changs marathon) were times when I was in a very regular routine. I tended to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends. I didn’t really change my bedtime or wake up time by more than 30 minutes or so, and I ate very similar foods each day so I knew how my body responded before workouts, recovering, etc. If anyone wants to figure out an additional way to improve their fitness or have a major breakthrough, I’d recommend getting into a routine like I just mentioned and really try to stick with it. I think you will feel better day-to-day, stay healthy, prevent sicknesses and see positive results in your goal race!

Pic: Cool pic from Cabo with a full moon over the beach ☺

Quote for today: Enthusiasm – the sustaining power of all great action."- Samuel Smiles

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big week, course record + first "A" race of 2010 :)

Well, the Tom Petty/ZZ Top concert we were going to go to tonight has been postponed due to Tom Petty having a throat infection :(..sooo who knows when it/if will be re-scheduled but now I'm relaxing at home drinking some yummy iced coffee and will be in bed around my usual time instead of in downtown Phoenix all night, lol ;)

This past week was a super challenging week with 4 hard days, a total of 91 miles and 21.5 hours of total training! Yesterday I raced the Moon Valley Grasshopper Bridge 5k and had a great time. I saw some of my friends, hung out after the race for the nice award ceremony and enjoyed good food and drinks compared to what you get after most races :) I wanted to race pretty much all out and see what kind of time I could get, hoping for well under 17 minutes even though I hadn't tapered at all for it. I ended up in no mans land a little ways off from the lead guys and couldn't quite surge enough to hang off the back of their pack. The course measured a bit long (3.16 according to my Garmin)...yes it may seem a bit weird to note an extra .06 but that could be a 20 second difference in a 5k! I probably just didn't run the tangents perfectly because it's a USATF certified course but anyway, my watch says my splits were 5:27, 5:20, 5:28 with the last bit at 4:51 pace :). My chip time was 16:56, almost 2 minutes faster than the course record and 9 seconds faster than any 5k I have run this year, so I'll take it. Paul Ruckel did a great job organizing the race and part of the course was on grass and had flags all over like a cross country race, with music in the background; lots of fun! All the proceeds from the race go toward the Phoenix Childrens Hospital so it's also for a great cause.

I'm feeling pretty good and looking forward to this week with nothing super hard until my first "A" race of this year, on Sunday morning in St. Paul, Minnesota. It's the USA Women's 10 Mile National Championship and my first USA Champs race of the year. I'm looking forward to it because it's a big weekend for racing. They also host the USA Men's Marathon Championships, USA Men's and Women's Master's Marathon Champs. It should be a fun weekend and to be quite honest I'm looking forward to being in a place with a high of 40 degrees cooler than the record heat we've been having here LOL :) I'm not tapering my volume for this race but I'm definitely toning down my intensity so my legs have some spunk come Sunday morning! It will be great to see where my fitness is 5 weeks out from the marathon. I've been working harder than I ever have before a marathon so I think Sunday will show me if it's working, especially if I have a fantastic race at the end of a 90 mile week!

Pic: Paul Ruckel and I yesterday at the race.

Quote for today: "You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can’t catch a fish unless you put your line in the water. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t try."- Kathy Seligman

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watermelon Chomps!, 4:54 in a Skirt :), Triple Sports + 8x1 mile

I received my GU Watermelon Chomps in the mail yesterday and I can't rave about these enough! My excitement literally made me rip open a bag right after UPS delivered them, and I ate a few while sitting in my freezing cold ice bath. They are so delicious and I enjoyed the rest of the bag this morning before my hard workout. As soon as they are available (I believe Oct. 1st), go get yourself some and I promise you will love them! :)-

Tuesday night I raced a mile on the track at Scottsdale Community College and I had a lot of fun! I raced in my blue Brooks skirt too, and finished 2nd overall and 1st female, in 4:54.8. I arrived at the track early after doing some fun shopping at Triple Sports and I decided to do my 8x200 before the race, and it felt good to run in my spikes and get my legs turned over. I think they all were 37 or faster so nothing crazy but a good pace, with 200 jog in between. However lesson learned: Don't drink an iced vanilla latte from Coffee Bean at 5 pm and go do a workout and race a little bit later...you won't feel very good LOL!

I walked out of Triple Sports with a big bag full of awesome goodies and of course another moment where I felt extremely grateful for everything my sponsors do for me. I got some soy protein, insulated water bottles, Triple Sports logo water bottles, socks, goggles and a case (since I seem to always scratch mine up and ruin them!). Polar insulated water bottles are my savior here in Phoenix. They really work wonders and definitely keep your drinks frozen or colder, for longer. Now they are making them with cool designs on the outside or funky patterns, so when they come out with leopard maybe someday???...I'll have to buy every single one I can find :) Whenever I am in Triple Sports I always get excited to race and inspired to be a better athlete. Therefore going before my mile race got me in the right mindset to go run fast!

My body feels very tired these days and last night I started to debate my planned workout for this morning, kinda trying to create excuses why I should change it or just run easy. I talked myself into a better mindset and planned to just "try" what I had planned and see how it would go. I instantly felt better this morning when I opened the back door to a nice chilly breeze outside, instead of the thick warm air we had for a couple days. I drove a few miles out to where I knew I'd have a one mile, flat, well-paved stretch to do my mile repeats. I knew there would be a decent amount of traffic with people going to work but overall it wasn't too bad. The semis were nice and moved over a ton for me and the 25-30 feet high tractor type things driving by didn't run me over, LOL...(I've never seen something so big driving on a regular road hahaha!)

Anyway, I did the most mile repeats I've ever done in my life (8) and ran them all right near where I wanted to (starting at 5:38 and getting down to 5:24) I had two minutes rest between each and I'm really proud of myself for not only doing this workout in the first place, but also doing it on the road, because doing something like this on the track definitely helps with pace a little bit, because you can check at every 400, etc. I knew I needed to do it on surfaces similar to my racing environment and this morning it was great to practice that, especially with the headwind heading north right at me for every other one! Each time I finished two of them, I had my water bottle with GU Raspberry electrolyte brew and after 6 of them I ate a Vanilla Gingerbread (YUM) gel, and I think it helped me for the last two I had to do! All in all, I'm extremely happy about doing this workout and I know my fitness is finally coming along. However I wouldn't have had the confidence boost and happiness I have right now if I had bailed on the workout. Sometimes you have to do what you DON'T want to do to really see where you are fitness-wise.

Pic: My little baby boys with my new Watermelon Chomps! HAHAHAHA..they always want to attack the UPS guy when he delivers my GU boxes :)

Quote for today: "You can’t fly a kite unless you go against the wind and have a weight to keep it from turning a somersault. The same with man. No man will succeed unless he is ready to face and overcome difficulties and is prepared to assume responsibilities."- William J.H. Boetcker

Monday, September 20, 2010

88 miles, 20 hours of training + Racing on the track tomorrow!

Yesterday I finished up my highest week of mileage since exactly one year ago, which is funny because it was not planned in any way and I had to look at my 2009 running log to see when the last time I ran a pretty high mileage week. Yesterday I wrapped up the week with a total of 88 miles and almost 20 hours of training! woo hoo! The next few weeks are going to be the most consecutive high mileage weeks I have ever done, hitting 90, 90, 100, and 90 before my taper! I used to take about one day off per week and I don't do that anymore; instead I run one day really easy but still a pretty long run, or one short really easy run. I take a day off here and there for traveling or after a few really hard weeks, yet not once per week anymore. I worked really hard this weekend and this morning I definitely felt it on my 13 mile run. I ran very easy and didn't pay attention to my pace because I could tell my body needed a mindless morning run :)

Saturday I woke up nervous, frustrated, angry and negative. Right before I have to do hard workouts by myself super early in the morning, I tend to ask myself "WHY am I doing this all alone?!"..yet I don't really have any other option right now, so I spend my time waking up, drinking my coffee and warming up talking myself into a more positive, upbeat mindset, HA. After warming up, I ran 10x1k around a loop near the house, all in 3:20 or faster with about 90 seconds recovery. They felt challenging toward the end yet never incredibly strained; I had 100% confidence I'd hit my goal times...it was just a matter of wanting to be DONE and have a smile on my face, lol :) I did my drills and cooled down barefoot in the park. It felt so good to be done. Yesterday I woke up after struggling to fall asleep for almost 2 hours Sat night! I definitely felt half awake the first few miles of my long run, which showed when my splits hovered around 7 minute pace, yikes. I quickly dropped the pace and then really pushed my last few miles to end up averaging 6:45's for the 19 mile run. Later I did my core and ST work and enjoying lounging around most of the day to recover!

Tomorrow evening I am racing an open mile race on the track at Scottsdale Community College and I am pretty darn excited :) Although I know my body is tired, I look forward to doing something new and getting my legs turned over. I'll do a run tomorrow morning, go do the race in the evening, do some fast 200's after the race, cool down and my total for the day will be 15 miles. The rest of the week I have some challenging workouts and another race on Saturday, but I know with this higher mileage and 99% of my running all single runs, I'm bound to feel fatigued. I'll reap my rewards on November 7th :)

Quote for today: "It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living." -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

Friday, September 17, 2010

Naan, Hills, ST works + LOVE my sponsors

Gosh it's been a busy week filled with many ups and downs. It started well on Monday when I spent some hours doing what I love most besides running...being in the kitchen :) I baked the most amazing delicious Naan bread from scratch and I proceeded to eat all of it within 3 days, lol. I LOVE the Naan bread from Trader Joes yet at almost 4 dollars per bag and only 6 pieces per bag I decided to find a recipe that sounded good and try to make it. It turned out super yummy and next time I'll experiment with different flours such as whole wheat and maybe use honey as a sweetener instead of the white sugar it called for.

In my 5th year at Duke when I decided to pursue my running and take a stab at triathlons in my immediate post-college life, I thought about what I want to do after my peak years as a pro athlete are done. I love to eat and drink fabulous food and baking and cooking for others truly makes me so happy. If I can make something that others enjoy, I feel like I accomplished something great. Therefore, in addition to my passion for running I decided to pursue my passion for food and drink and eventually open my own bakery and coffee shop. Here in the Phoenix area, very few fantastic bakery and coffee shops exist. They may have a few things that are good, yet no one has to-die-for baked goods and coffee drinks (good coffee as in made like the Italians make it!). So someday down the road I'll have my bakery plus a big patio for people to bring their dogs and I can give all the dogs my dog treats I bake from scratch as well :) I can't wait!!

I had a couple stressful days dealing with some car issues yet thank goodness my baby is fine and driving well again :) I also taught at Mountain Pointe one day this week and it was good until the last hour of the day when I had a "I wish I were at home with my dogs" moment. Disrespectful kids are not fun to deal with and although I love teaching HS because I can be a smart ass right back to them, it's just not fun to deal with. I have better things to do with my days thank you very much. Thank goodness my training literally prevents me from doing much subbing these days. Running on average 15 miles per day isn't conducive to being at a school by 7:15 in the morning. I'm not getting up at 4 to run in the pitch black, rush to get to school, etc...you can catch my drift..;) my college coach always told me I worked too much and it hindered my running. Every single day I remind myself that I don't want to look back and wonder....like I do with my college years that were way too busy with not enough sleep.

Anyway, one day this week I drove to my old neighborhood in north scottsdale and did a challenging run with tons of hills. I visualized the bridges in the NYC course and powered up the long hills as hard and efficient as I could. The past couple days I've had soreness from the workout and I'm so happy!! I never seem to get sore from my workouts so I'm loving this feeling that I'm strengthening some weakness I obviously have right now :)

Speaking of weaknesses, I used to get stabbing pains in my hips and glutes late in long runs and in the late miles of my marathons. I started doing so many stabilizing exercises for my glutes and hips along with my core and strength training (ST) and it obviously works because I don't get the pains anymore!! It's such a terrific feeling when you actually see results and know that the work you put in actually benefits you in some way. :)

I got a big shipment of some awesome goodies from GU the other day and now I am set for all my racing and training through the marathon. I just love their products so much and I'm so incredibly grateful for all that they do for me. They are coming out with a NEW Chomps flavor too!! WATERMELON!! I cannot wait to try them; I have a feeling I may have a new favorite flavor soon :p My main sponsor, Marathon Guide.com I cannot thank enough. They help me so much with my day to day training and without them I would have to sub teach or work another job many hours per week. Simply put, I cannot do what I do without their help :) Triple Sports helps me so incredibly much, especially with all of my triathlon needs. I obviously buy different things from their store because they have such a huge selection of nutrition products, running clothes, etc. yet when it comes to my tri needs, I can't thank them enough. They really are the best tri store in AZ so if you ever need great stuff from great people, go see them! Endurance Rehab continues to support me as well! For instance the other day I dropped in when I was up there and needed someone to look at a calf problem I've been having and Shane helped me before his patients were supposed to be coming in for the day. I really can't thank them enough!

Pic: My Naan bread I made and a random hilarious picture I found from a friend LOL :p

Quote for today: "All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them."- Walt Disney