Another One Bites the Dust!

Okay so this is the latest casualty from the marathon…oh, and I warn you ahead of time, this image could scare small children…just in time for Halloween…

YIKES! It was the strangest thing…it just sort of popped off tonight. It didn’t hurt or anything. I remember that the few days after the marathon it was pretty sore, but I’m not sure that that toe even got black and blue. The second toe on my right foot was a bit different – that one was more gradual. As a matter of fact another nail grew underneath and basically took its place. But this time there is just skin there. Gross. I have to admit it kind of makes me sick too look at it. It feels very Frankenstein-esque. I’m beginning to think that toenails really serve no purpose in life except to hold nail polish. I wonder if I’ll lose anymore…the rest of the left foot looks okay, but the right foot has two other black and blue ones. Not to mention those big toes that are still questionable. Oh, and yes – still worth it! As a matter of fact I’m thinking about registering for the Pittsburgh full in May!!!!

Totally Devoted to You

So I was asked to share a devotion at the Women’s Retreat this past weekend. I’ve included it here since it is in reference to my running. And yes, I cried throughout the entire thing!!!

Devotion for Women’s Retreat – Oct 9, 2011

Live Out Loud with Gratitude

Those who know me well know that I don’t do very much quietly. I have a loud laugh, a loud speaking voice and I like to talk a lot. However, I didn’t realize how to live out loud until recently. I ran my first marathon two week s ago today. As I reflect on that huge personal accomplishment it is hard to believe that I am the same woman who wrote this journal entry a little over 2 years ago in May 2009:

“When I joined Weight Watchers in January I had made myself the deal that I would lose 20 pounds before starting any activity. I wanted to build up some confidence in my ability to be successful in this journey, plus I wanted to get some weight off so it would be easier to move. Well, I achieved that goal (20 pounds) this month so it was time to start that activity! But what would I do? I wasn’t ready to join a gym and didn’t have the money or the time to get in the car, drive to a fitness club and work out. So, I decided I would start walking. That was cheap – well, actually free! I decided to walk for a mile 3-4 times a week. Early in the month I started with this and enjoyed it. I got out my MP3 player that I had received the Christmas before and had never used. I created a playlist, put on my old New Balance cross trainer shoes and hit the pavement in the neighborhood. Then one day the song, Live Out Loud by Steven Curtis Chapman come on my playlist towards the end of my walk and I just got the urge to start running! So I did! I felt so good!! I probably ran a total distance of about 0.3 miles all the way back home, but that was not the point. I felt really good and free in that moment. As I came in the door I announced to my teenage son (who was on the track team at the high school) that I was now a runner! That was the beginning. But I needed a goal – some sort of plan…”

Well, I did get a plan: a plan to train to run my first 5K in Sept 2009. That led to a bunch of 5K’s and a year later I did a women’s triathlon which was followed by my first half marathon (13.1 miles) this past May. Then, most recently I ran the Akron full marathon (26.2 miles) two weeks ago.

So why run? Why continue to set these seemingly impossible goals for myself? Well, lots of reasons…the challenge, the medal, and frankly just to see if I could do it! And also, because I just feel more alive and in my element when I am running, especially to accomplish a goal. I feel connected to my body in a way that doesn’t happen any other time. During a run I can either clear my head and just be or work things out in my head, whichever is necessary for that particular day. Finally finishing a run all sweaty, and coated with salt and road grime I feel a spiritual connection to the earth and God. This is me: fully alive and living out loud.

So how did it feel to run a marathon? Well, a priest friend of mine who has run many marathons calls the marathon “one long prayer”. He talks about the pain that many times come with marathons as symbolic of the pain Christ went through during the crucifixion. Well, more than any other feeling like pride, or strength or accomplishment or anything else that one might normally feel after something like this, all I immediately felt was gratitude. I laid on the masseuse table the morning after the run with tears just rolling down my face, just overwhelmed with gratitude. I was just SO grateful to the many people in my life for their support in various ways during my training journey. I wanted to thank them. So I did!

I proceeded to thank a number of family members, friends, colleagues and others who helped and encouraged me along the way on this training journey on my blog. I didn’t realize until the next day that I had neglected to include God on this list. Whoa, that is weird, I thought. Why wasn’t she first on my list?! Especially after all the wonderful weather that we had on race day!! This really troubled me at first. The more I thought about it, however, I realized that God’s hand was behind all the people I thanked on my list (and even those who I didn’t!). She was in the kind smiles of the volunteers working the fuel stations. She was in the sweet and encouraging, “go girl” messages from friends near and far. She was in the listening hearts of family who lent their ears to hear my running joys and woes. She was in the wise training advice from friends and experts. She was with me when I was on top of the world from a great run and she was with me when I wanted to quit after a horrible one. And finally she was with me through all 26.2 miles on race day.

So I thank you God. I thank you for being with me. I thank you for the gift of an able and strong body that can run. I thank you for sending all the encouraging people to me at just the right time. I thank you for sending that special song to me on that May afternoon 2 years ago that really changed my life. And I ask that you share your spirit with others and make us always ready to find new ways to live out loud with gratitude.

Here is the chorus of the song Live Out Loud
Wake the neighbors
Get the word out
Come on, crank up the music, climb a mountain and shout
This is life we’ve been given, made to be lived out
So, la, la, la, la, live out loud

Recovery Week

Wed, Oct 5

So Hal Higdon, the runner guru, recommends resting for between 7-10 days before running again after completing a marathon. So, being the good little soldier that I am, that is exactly what I did! Today was day 10 and I was out there with bells on! But before I report on the run, I wanted to report on the recovery week. Last week was extremely busy for me at work – it was Homecoming week so I had to work late on Wed, Thurs, and Fri plus all day Sat and Sat night! Yikes! But the good thing was that I wasn’t supposed to run, but I was too busy to run even if I could have so it all worked out pretty well, actually. I did get yoga in three times last week, but that was really helpful for my recovery I think. The hardest class ever was Tuesday – and any other day that would have been an easy class! My quads were really sore, my right ankle was sore and my toes were sore in updog on the mat. Oww!

Overall my recovery went pretty well. I went by the book for the afternoon in terms of rest and pasta after the race and just iced off and on with my ankle for the next few days. What I didn’t expect were my big toes to be so puffy and sore! I was concerned that I might lose the nails. It was almost as if there were blisters up under the nail and the nail was shoved up underneath the skin. They were painful and woke me up at night – they even hurt up against my bed covers at night. I had to wear open-toed shoes for 8 days following the race! My dogs were getting kinda chilly so I was glad I was finally able to wear closed-toed shoes to work this past Monday.

All in all a pretty good recovery. This was the only casualty…

Hey, it happens. I just hope that is the only one…this time…

So, yeah my run today was pretty awesome! I ran 3 miles in 30:30 with an average pace of 10’09”. My first mile was really fast at 9’32”! It was a beautiful day outside at lunchtime and it just felt so good to run again that I was cookin’! I didn’t realize I was going that fast, but figured I was when I had to walk a bit!! So, I’m back in the saddle again! But the question is where is my horse going now? I had thought about running the Stomp the Grapes Half in Hartville, OH, but it is November 5 and I’m not sure if that would be pushing it too much to attempt that one. Any thoughts runner friends? I do need a goal that I can shoot for to keep myself motivated to run!! I don’t think another marathon is in my immediate future, but I need something….hmmmm. This is transition time for this runner girl. Meanwhile I’ll keep doing yoga and keep running like every other day…

Marathon Math

So, yeah I had to add up my training stats and record them for posterity. And yes, I kept track of every detail on my training log – even down to what shoes I wore. Yes, it is a sickness, but I thought I would share. So here you go:

20 week training – I did 17 weeks since I decided to do it almost right after the Cleveland 1/2.

Yoga classes: 45
Other cross training (elliptical): 1
Skips or rests: 13
Runs: 43

Total Miles: 283.19

What is interesting about this is that the number of miles I ran for my 1/2 training was 205.25 in 14 weeks. So only about 77 some odd miles more for the full training. The biggest difference is obviously the long runs, however. You can keep running 3 and 4 mile distances until the cows come home, but the real endurance building is the long runs I think.

It Takes a Village to Train a Marathoner (or My great big fat thank you note!)

So as I was lying on the masseuse table this morning getting my post-race healing massage, the strangest thing happened. I began to cry. As in full out tears rolling down my face down to my ears (I was lying on my back). The woman had barely begun the massage when I just starting crying. I was just feeling relaxed and I was thinking about the finish line, Zach running out to me…the whole thing and I was again just overwhelmed with gratitude. All that plus the beautiful piano music playing in the room and I was toast. I felt embarrassed at first, but after I apologized to the masseuse and told her it had nothing to do with her she reassured me that it happens sometimes. It is just an emotional release, she explained as she handed me a kleenex. I was totally not prepared for that! I was prepared for the massage to hurt a little bit, but not for that reaction. It wasn’t that I was sad or happy…it was more just overwhelmed. Oh, and it happened not once, but twice during the hour! Oh, what a mess. I was so thankful right then that I didn’t have a dude as a masseuse!

But I thought about this experience all day. More than any other feeling like pride, or strength or accomplishment or anything else that one might normally feel after something like this, (and I’m sure that will all come eventually), all I can feel right now is gratefulness. I am grateful to SO many people in my life for their support in various ways during this training journey. And I want to thank them. So, here is my big, fat, public thank you note to everyone who helped and supported me along the way. And yeah, I’m going to call you out…(I hope I don’t miss anyone!!)

First and foremost to my husband, Mike: For supporting me during all those long run times with me gone on Saturday mornings. For listening to my running highs and lows even when he really didn’t want to. And for, yet again, spending a really long morning taking pics and cheering me on with a nine-year-old in toe. Best husband ever – I love you!

Zach: For being the proud kid that he is, being my pace car on my shorter runs and for being such a great cheerleader (and taking awesome pictures)! Love you, Zachy-B.

My parents: For cheering me on at the finish line! It kept me going knowing you both were at the end of the race!

Shirley Berthold, my mother-in-law: For almost always being the very first one to add a positive comment on my blog and cheer me up just when I needed it most.

John Ropar: For being such a great race partner and pacer for the first half of the run. It truly meant more than you’ll ever know. What a class act.

Angie Weimer: For running big portions of my two last long runs with me and for enjoying day 1 of the race weekend with me at the Expo. You rocked the 1/2, girl!! Now you gotta find a full!

Stephen Trier: For coming to find me after he ran his 1/2 yesterday AND for running with me for a couple of miles just to get me through the really rough patch. You were seriously an angel. Another class act.

Lyn Trier: For pricking holes in all my excuses that I kept trying to use when I was thinking about maybe running a marathon back in May. Lyn, it worked! Thanks for all your support!

My Weight Watcher friends and Weight Watcher fellow runners: Nancy, our amazing and fearless leader, Shannon Ross, Gillian McKnight-Tutein, Katherine Titus, Sharon Perkins, Judy Houston, Sher Shiftlett, and couples Dave and Christina Boehm and Carole and Dennis MacFarland: for their weekly support and encouragement, advice, and sometimes a swift kick in the pants (Sharon!) This is where it started – with all these fabulous people! I carried you with me for the entire race for many reasons.

Lori Mincek: For being there for me during our training season this summer. It has been fun to see you accomplish your goals and I appreciate you being such a great cheerleader for me! Don’t give up just yet on the 26.2!

Missy DelRosso: For being such a great cyber cheerleader and coach over the last 9 months or so. And for the snail mail notes (yep, some people still do that!) of encouragement you sent me right on time before the 1/2 in May and again on Friday. Plus your legs are wicked fast!

Mary Ann Hanicak: For always asking about my runs, listening to all my joys and woes and celebrating with me!

Marathoners at JCU: Tom Reilley, Mike Roeder, Lori Sprague, Father H. Paul, Tim Mauk, Derrick and *John Ropar (*see above for him!) – All these guys and gals shared their rich expertise with me in various ways and I am ever grateful to you all!

Coach Jenny Hadfield: For her practical, helpful and prompt advice and help with all my training/injury questions via facebook. She rocks!

Facebook Friends: I cannot name you all! But please know that every comment, and every word of encouragement that you shared added to my ability to achieve this goal.

Yes, it took a village to train this marathoner. And from the bottom of my heart I thank you all.

Love and Hugs,
Lisa

Akron Marathon 2011 – My first!

Well, “me and my kicks finally got to 26” on September 24, 2011! The official results are at the end of this entry. First, here is the story…oh, and yes, it is quite lengthy, but then again, so was/is the marathon!!!

I woke up and wondered if something was wrong because I was pretty relaxed. I think I was still in denial when we (Mike and Zach got up early and both planned to stay for the day) picked up Angie and headed into Akron. I had to blast some Lady Gaga to get my stoked and ready to roll. After a couple of songs I started getting excited, but still not really nervous like I was before the 1/2. I was just curious to see how this whole thing would play out. I DID feel like I was on the edge of glory, as the song says and I just was anxious to experience it. We met John Ropar, my colleague at JCU, at the church at around 6:15am. Okay, I have to add some background here about John. Not only is he a great person, but he is a wicked marathon runner. He has run 76 marathons so far. No that is not a typo…I mean seventy-six marathons!! Yeah, crazy right? But he is very cool and offered to pace me a couple of months ago when he found out I was running Akron. He ran Cleveland at just over 5 hours in May so he said he could get me there too. I few weeks ago John told me that he had been having some health issues lately and warned me that he might not be able to run the full, but he would just see what happened on the day of. I started getting mentally prepared to do it on my own if I needed to. Here is us ready to go.

Pretty soon we were off and enjoying the run. I told Angie to go on ahead as I knew her goal was going to be a bit faster than ours. Plus I told her I wanted her to beat my 1/2 time! John was great about pacing each mile and checking in with me to see how I was. I told him I wanted to be in the 10 – 11 minute range. He also was great about reminding me that it was okay to walk through the fuel stops. I did that early on and continued through the entire race and I think that really saved my legs!

Early on pretty much right after the start I ran into my friend Stephen who was running the half. That was a nice surprise! He ran with us for about the first 3 miles before he took off to meet his goal of just over 2 hours. Way to go, Stephen! Before I knew it we were at the 3 mile mark and I saw Mike and Zach! That was really fun to see them! Mike too some video footage and Zach grabbed this picture.

You can see John in the blue shirt and white hat…I’m right behind him. I was also really excited to see my friend, Lori on the sidelines who was cheering on her husband, Lou, who was running his first half. Lori is running her first half in a couple weeks!

We got into a groove then and John kept reassuring me that we were in good shape time wise as he kept updating me with our pace per mile. We kept right around 10:40 or 10:50 for a good bit of miles through 10. We saw Mike and Zach again at mile 10 where the next good spectator spot was. They grabbed these pics.

I at least got a smile out with a thumbs up!

I was smiling at the video camera while Zach was taking a picture of the back of me. My boys did a great job of tag teaming the media coverage.

I felt really good mentally and physically at this point. I was taking all the fuel breaks (and walking just like 10-15 seconds) and alternating between water and powerade. I hadn’t had any gummies yet, but was thinking that I might need some soon. Right about this time John had to make a decision about whether or not to do the half or continue on to do the full. At the 11 mile marker, the half route took a left and the full route turned right onto the tow path. John told me he was going to just do the half and I reassured him I’d be fine. He told me I was “locked in” on my pace and should be fine. He said the tow path was a pretty easy stretch, then some hills and after Stan Hywet I’m in the home stretch and it is all down hill from there. I thanked him and he went on his way as I headed to the tow path.

Now, I don’t like trails as I’ve said before, but I continued at a good pace for awhile. I opened up a pack of gummies and ate half just to get a little boost which helped. I made sure it was right before a water stop too. I was excited to see the half-way point AND that the clock said 2:19. I had beaten my time for the Cleveland half. Yahoo! I was on target! Right about the next thought I had was, “oh, shit…I’m only half-way?!!” The 4 miles on the towpath for the most part was really boring save for a couple water stops where there were spectators. Most of it was just woods with nothing going on. However, Time Warner had these signs all throughout the path with these inspirational quotes on them that were really helpful! At around mile 15 I got another surprise. I saw my friend Katherine, who is running her first 1/2 in Columbus in a few weeks, and she was cheering me on saying, “Go Lisa, you’re doing it!” That really helped motivate me because we were coming up on a pretty significant hill and because of her cheering I kept going without walking. It made so much of a difference having the support of the awesome crowd, especially seeing people I knew. There were tons of bands, and other music all along the way that were really motivational. The other thing that was cool was that people cheered you on with your name (on the bib). The saints of the day,however, were the volunteers working the fuel stops. Everyone was so nice and they worked so hard to make our experience better – and they cheered us on too, with our names!

Right after the 15 or 16 mile marker it got tougher. The first few hills were okay, but eventually I had to walk a bit for like 15-20 second stretches just to shake it off and then continue running again. I was totally okay with that because I had my eye on the prize. My body still felt fine. I ran into some nice people that encouraged me when they saw that I was a first-timer. They were walking here and there too and I asked them what their pace/goal was. The guy answered by saying, “same day finish!” I kept seeing them off and on for the rest of the race and they always greeted me so warmly.

I had a little bit of a challenge at around mile 18:44. Why do I know the exact place? Because my stupid iPod all of a sudden announced that my workout was completed and the music stopped. Ugh – no! I immediately tried to restart it where it was, but it had already reset. So I had no choice but start another workout sequence again in order to track the rest of the run and have music. I was really mad. This meant I would not have a complete workout to sync to my nikeplus thing! Then I had an epiphany, “Lisa, you are running a freaking marathon…they are already timing you with a really big clock so screw the iPod.” Yes, good, okay, so I got on board with listening to the same songs again. But hey, it made me feel like I just started at mile 1! Ha, ha!

Right after this iPod drama I decided to have the rest of my packet of gummies. I was starting to feel a little drained. I was coming up to mile 20 and that marked the furthest I had ever run and also was the “wall” as I had read. I actually started feeling tired at this point. My actual muscles in my quads and my hamstrings felt a little tight. I didn’t get any actual cramps, but it felt like I could. Right about this time at mile 21 I heard a familiar voice. My friend Stephen had finished his half and was coming the other direction looking for me! He asked me how I was doing and I said it was a little rough. I said, “Stephen, help me!” So, he ran with me…for like two miles (after he had already run his race!) along the sidewalk of the route. His encouragement and just mere presence was just what I needed to get through that really tough part. It was SO great and meant so much to me. What a great friend and my angel for that day!!

Pretty soon I made friends with Christy, another girl who was walking a bit. I found out she was nursing an IT band issue because she was doing another marathon in October (gulp). We said we would stay with each other and start running after the water break ahead. We got to mile 22 and ran past Stan Hywet (like right by the actual house) together. My “same day finish” friends were right behind us and warned us of the upcoming photo op so we made sure our bibs showed and that we were smiling! Hopefully those pics will be cool. Soon after Stan Hewitt we came to the infamous “heartrate hill”. It turns out that while the hill is extremely steep it really isn’t that long. But the problem is that it is on like mile 23! I took one look at it and said, “oh, hell no” and walked up that bad boy. Right at the top Christy had to walk again, but I continued on and wished her well. I was hoping that I could still make it under 5 hours and I knew I would be really close so I needed to keep going. With 4 miles left I remember thinking, this is fine, it is just a little more than a 5K. Cool. It was so tough, however. I wasn’t injured, thankfully, but I was just done. My legs were just really tight…I could feel my toes were hurting and I just wanted it to be over. I remember seeing the clock with about two miles left to go and I think I had about 22 minutes to get in under 5 hours. So I kept going. The last two miles were pretty awful because I kept having to walk a bit. At one point I determined I had had enough of this walking BS and said I would run the whole last mile and I did.

I ran into the stadium and heard people cheering. I heard my dad yelling loud and clear, “Way to go, Ramsey” and I heard Zachary too. Hearing my family, and seeing the finish line and clock made me get emotional. I started to lose it and right after I crossed the finish line, Zachary was next to me in his Run Mommy Run shirt telling me that I just ran a marathon. And as I hugged him and grabbed some water I was all of a sudden being pulled over to a Time Warner podium where a gentleman started interviewing me and Zach! He asked me how it felt as a first-timer and I told him it was emotional as I’m holding back tears. Then he asked Zach about his shirt and how he felt about his mom running a marathon. He said it was awesome. It was kinda cool! Then they took our picture together. I think the interview might be shown on the local cable channel, but we don’t get Time Warner. I’ll have to look it up. Anyway, as I made my way around the bases to get my water and food bag, they gave Zach all the stuff too! Well, except the medal!

As we caught up with Mike and my parents I had the start of some more tears. We talked a bit, got some pics and I took my shoes off…ahhh. I got my phone out, but it was dead. I guess it had just had enough after 5 hours of running. My folks were really proud, each giving me a hug (yuck – 5 hour sweaty girl!) and I was so glad they came! Pretty soon they took off and I just kept drinking my powerade and then my banana, while Mike and Zach grabbed some chik-fil-a sandwiches at the stadium. I kept trying to remember what Hal Higdon said about recovery and followed the instructions. I felt really good amazingly. I wasn’t collapsed or nauseous – just sore. The walk up the hill to the parking garage was brutal, however!!

As we drove home I kept trying to wrap my head around what had just happened. I couldn’t really do it right then, however. All I could feel was just gratefulness. Grateful and sore. And I just wanted to be in that spot for as long as I could – to drink in all that this moment meant to me. I couldn’t make any meaning out of it yet, nor did I want to. I just wanted to feel it. Meaning could come later. Yes, just breathe.

Here are the numbers:
Time: 5:01:16
Distance: 26.2 miles
Clock Time 5:03:30
Chip Time 5:01:16
Overall Place: 1146 / 1389 (there were 1389 finishers…not sure how many “starters there were”)
Gender Place 362 / 488 (of all the women finishers)
Division Place 63 / 83 (of all the women in my age group 40 – 44)

Here are my times at the splits that they tracked:
3.5 miles 00:35:44
9.25 miles 01:38:11
15.5 miles 02:47:19
18. 3 miles 03:22:08
Divtotal 83 (women in my age group finished)
Sextotal 488 (total women who finished)
Average Pace: 11:30

Twas the Night Before the Marathon

So, yeah, I was trying to distract myself from thinking about the big race the next day when I got inspired to write this. It is one of my stress relievers. Enjoy!!

Twas the Night Before the Marathon

Twas the night before the marathon when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The outfits were all laid out on the dresser with care
In hopes that nothing was forgotten there.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds
With visions of sleep dancing in their heads
With hubby snoring and the dog in his crate
I had just settled down to attempt to sleep 8

When direct from my nightstand there arouse such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
I smacked my hand down in the direction of the sound
And my alarm clock immediately came crashing down.

The light from the street light cast a weird hue
Around the room I could not clearly view
When what to my wondering eye should appear
But a woman standing next to my mirror

With a sweet smile and legs like stumps of a tree
A knew in a moment who I thought this could be
With the stance of a professional athlete about her
I soon figured out that this was Coach Jenny, for sure!

You know, Jenny Hadfield, the great coach and runner
A motivational speaker, writer and trainer
With her websites filled with training programs and tips
And best of all she answers questions on Facebook, really quick!

And then in a twinkling I heard out my door
The cadence of running shoes on the floor
As I drew in my hand and was turning around
Jenny plopped down on my bed in a bound

She was dressed all in running gear from her head to her feet
And her clothes were all covered with medals, sweet.
A bundle of items she had stashed in a backpack
And she looked just like Santa Claus opening his sack

“Now, Lisa,” she said as she turned to me
“I’ve come to give you tips for your race, you see”
Then she reached for the sack, deep inside
And out she pulled out a bottle of Glide.

“This will work to prevent chaffing my, dear”
“Use it where you might rub, is that clear?”
Then she smiled her smile and nodded her head.
Right away I began to feel I had nothing to dread.

She reached back into the bag and pulled out a card
It was the number for a spa, okay, I thought, I’m on board!
“Get a massage appointment 24 hours after race day”
“It will greatly help in your muscle recovery”

“The rest of my tips do not come from a bag, she said”
“But they are things you have to believe in your heart and in your head”
“The first is remember your race, your pace
“Your goal is to finish, no matter what place”

“And also remember to enjoy the experience and the day”
“The sights and sounds of spectators along the way”
“No matter the weather, you can do this, girl”
“You have trained well, now dig deep and run like hell”

She wished me luck and gave me a hug
And tucked me back into my bed, all snug
But I heard her exclaim as she ran out of sight
“Go get ‘em, Lisa, kick butt and fight!!

The Expo Experience

Fri, Sept 23

So the race weekend experience started with the Expo on Friday. When I heard that there was going to be a couple from the Biggest Loser there speaking as well as the legend, Hal Higdon, I decided to take the whole day off of work to attend! (Dorky, yes, but I do not care!). So Angie and I decided to go together. We got there around 11:30am. Here’s our pic!

We arrived in time to grab our bib stuff and then listen to Amy and Phil Parham speak. They were contestants on the Biggest Loser season 6 and lost a combined total of 256 pounds. Now they have this “90 Day Fitness Challenge” thing they are promoting and are reaching a lot of people with it.

I actually got the nerve up to talk to Amy before she spoke and ask her to get her picture taken with me (this is huge for me since I’m severely starstruck). What helped was that I did not watch the show back when they were on it, so I could pretend they were just normal people….which they were actually!!!

I also bought Amy’s book called “10 Lessons From a Former Fat Girl” and had her sign it. In their talk they announced that they are working on sitcom about their life, sorta centered around Amy’s book. So they said, if you hear a sitcom called “Former Fat Girl” or something it might be us!

From there Ang and I hit all the booths in the expo and met Hal Higdon along the way. I could not talk to him at all besides saying, “I think you are awesome!” I mean, come on, the man has run 111 marathons. I felt like Jennifer Gray’s character in Dirty Dancing when she said, “I carried a watermelon”. Thankfully, Angie was there and could put a few normal sentences together and we could get our picture taken with him.

We bought a few things along the way and took a cheesy picture with banners!! So fun!!

We ended up going through the Expo like 4 times before we were finally done finding the things we needed. I bought a cute shirt for Zach and another shirt for me and then we got our race shirt/jacket. Oh, the coveted jacket!! At first I was disappointed because it was windbreaker material, but it grew on me. I only put it on once for size and then immediately took it off until the 26.2 was behind me.

Afterwards we had a late lunch at Subway since there was no food to be had anywhere at the Expo. We were given directions not to bring any food in since there would be concessions. Well, those consisted of soft pretzels and movie candy. No thanks. Over all a great day! Now for some more pasta and an early bedtime…

Sad Yoga

Thurs, Sept 22
Yoga at lunch

So, I almost cried today in yoga class thinking that it was my last workout before the marathon. I’m such a sap – it really is pathetic. The almost crying was a mix of feelings – fear, excitement, anticipation and sadness (about it being over soon!). I felt that same twinge of sadness at the hairdresser making my next hair cut appointment yesterday. I stopped to think about scheduling it later in the day because I would have a long run on that Saturday, and then realized that I probably wouldn’t. Ugh – that felt not good. I asked Mike what I would do on Saturday mornings and he said, “sleep in”! Like that will happen!!!

I have enjoyed this training journey so much – and also blogging about it. Sometimes I’m really not sure what I have enjoyed more – the training or the writing about the training. For me, I guess, they just go hand in hand.

Yes, I will find a new goal and that will be good. But this one has been different. This marathon training journey leading up to Saturday has been epic for me. I do really believe that the training has been the real tough journey. The marathon is just the icing on the cake – the reward. I just want to enjoy every moment.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to starting my race weekend with the Expo. I took the day off of work in order to hear some of the speakers speak (dork alert!) and just enjoy the vendors, etc. I’m going with my runner partner, Angie so that should be fun.

But first, a good night’s sleep is needed!

Girls Kick Butt!

Wed, Sept 21
Ran 3 miles at 6:30am
Time: 30:33; Average Pace: 10’11”

So it felt good to run early this morning. I haven’t done that in quite awhile. It was good that I did too because it rained pretty much the rest of the day so I finally missed it! I wanted to run one more time before Saturday just to remind my legs about what they need to do. They were good and ready to roll. Also, I wanted to break in my new tech shirt that my tri-athlete friend, Lori, gave to me as a good luck and thank you present. Here is a picture of it…

Just in case you can’t read the caption, underneath “Vertical Runner” it says, “Girls Kick Butt”. Why, yes….yes they do!! And I totally plan on wearing my sweet new shirt on Saturday!!

My new shirt reminds me of a football situation that occurred at last weekend’s game. Much to Zach’s chagrin, there was a girl on the team they played against. A girl!! When I saw this I felt compelled to cheer for this courageous little girl!! Being the ONLY girl on an all boys team and having to play other all boys teams – that takes courage. So I cheered (in my head) every time this girl made a tackle – and she played on both sides of the ball too – she was great! Some of the other football moms and I were all in agreement about wanting to support and cheer her on. My son, however, didn’t quite see it that way. We talked about it over lunch and the conversation went something like this…

Me: I noticed there was a girl on the other team today.
Zach: Yeah, girls CANNOT play football!
Me: Well, did she have pads on? (nod) A helmet, pants and a jersey.
Zach: Yeah
Me: Well, then, yeah, she CAN and DOES play football.
Zach: Well, she shouldn’t be able to.
Me: Sure she should. I think that is a very courageous thing to do!
Zach: Courageous? What are you talking about, mom?!
Me: To play against all those boys be the only girl on the team?
Zach: No, its not. I pancaked her.
Me: Well, yeah, you should treat her just like any other football player.
Me: (Trying from another angle). What about the fact that there are both men and women in the military?
Zach: Mom, that is different. Everyone should be able to fight for their country – it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl.
Me: (Screaming “YES!!!” in my head, hoping we are getting somewhere) Right…and….
Zach: Yeah, but this is different. This is football!!!

End of conversation for now. Hey, for now I’ll take the small victory about the military. He’ll get the courage thing next time around, maybe. Meanwhile I still maintain that “girls kick butt”. Whether you are a nine-year-old girl on an all boys football team or you are a 42 woman preparing to run her first marathon. Kicking butt and taking names…one play and one mile at a time!!!