"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

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