11.01.2012

Race Recap: Chicago Marathon 2012

Well after 7 months of thinking about it and 5 months of actually training for it the day had come...The Chicago Marathon.

Pre-Chicago
Before I jump into the race recap, I'll start by summarizing the past 12 weeks of training. I had once again been suffering through rounds of knee/IT band pain. My training run of 18 miles had gone AWFUL resulting in me having to be picked up by a teammate because I just couldn't finish.
Another set of Doctors appointments led to the fact that my knee was once again inflamed and I should/could get a cortisone injection to ease the pain. The only problem being that the race was less than a month away and he could only administer the shot once, either now or right before the race. I decided to hold off on the shot (mostly because I'm a baby with needles) and see if I could toughen it out. I managed to take the entire week off to rest and that following weekends had an extremely strong 20 mile run. Special thanks to Reed on that run for keeping me going. Once I knew my knee could survive that without pain I decided against any form of injection and would take my chances on a strong race.

About two weeks before the race we found out that Adam was going to be able to join Janelle and I in Chicago and we were pretty darn excited because we now had our race Sherpa and someone to take care of us that weekend! The closer the race got the more nervous I got. I really wanted this to be a positive marathon experience and make me forget about the awful end to Publix. Ultimately I wanted to be able to run this race between 4:20 and 4:45. Everyday at work for about two weeks I stared at the following chart trying to determine best and worst case.

Three days before we are set to take off for Chicago, Adam decided he was going to do the full marathon after all. This was going to be his first marathon and his justification was if everyone else is doing it, maybe I could too. He had me convinced that his longest run had been 16 miles the month prior and that he'd take it easy on this race. Janelle and I were bummed to be losing our Sherpa but figured we'd manage.


Friday
After work Friday afternoon, I jetted home to pick up Adam and then we were off to the airport.

Saturday
Janelle and I had initially intended on sleeping in and if we made it down for team run great, but more than likely we were going to be getting our beauty sleep. Our bodies were so use to getting up early that sure enough we were up and ready to go by 8AM. We headed downstairs to meet our respective teams, but the one thing that worried us both was "were we going to be warm enough?". The weather forecast had it in the low 30s but more than anything it was going to be windy! I guess it isn't called the windy city for nothing. We went on a nice easy mile run with our respective teams and figured out where the race began. After that we headed back to pick up Adam & venture off to the expo.

Overall the expo was pretty similar to what you'd expect at other races. Lots of vendors, lots of free stuff, and not too overly crowded. We were getting more and more excited for the next day. We met up with a friend for a late lunch after that then over to the Fleet Feet store so Adam could get a new set of shoes for the race (Yes he did everything he wasn't suppose to do before a marathon). After that it was naptime then finally getting ready for the Team in Training, Inspiration Dinner. Since I wasn't able to attend the dinner prior to the Publix race, this was my first one. I had heard it was always such a wonderful experience to hear about someones struggle with overcoming cancer and a reminder of why you are out there raising funds and training. This night was no exception. To watch a young child overcome so much was truly an inspiration. I was going to take that motivation with me when I was struggling during the race. After dinner it was back to our room to finish our last minute shirt decorating/race day prep and then lights out around 10.

Sunday
The alarm went off bright and early and it was time to head to the race. I had been counting down to this race for nearly seven months and it was finally here! That morning it was FREEZING outside. I had worn a pair of sweats that I could throw away at the start of the race but boy it was still cold! Once again all of these conditions pointed to the exact opposite of Publix. We dropped off our things at the check-in and headed to our corrals. I had my iPhone to listen to my Spotify playlist and four packets of GU all tucked into my spybelt. Janelle and I had taken off on our own and had lost my GA TNT group that I normally run with. Their plan was to take it slow and then gradually increase (i.e. negative splits). The more I analyzed that plan the more I knew I simply couldn't over compensate to achieve the time I wanted.I opted to run comfortably











During the first mile of the course you pass under a bridge which alters your Garmin time and pace. I had heard from expert runners to make sure I didn't touch the watch and by mile 2.5 it would normalize. Sure enough the Garmin was going crazy. Janelle and I kept checking w/one another on the pace and it wasn't making any sense. By the time it re-calibrated we were averaging between a 9 and 10:30 pace. Throughout the entire race I never really had a "consistent" pace but kept it within this ball park. Some miles I'd really feel great and push harder, others (especially right before taking more GU) I'd start slowing down. Janelle and I stayed together for pretty much the first 10 miles. She would run through the water stations where as I would walk. I would nearly catch back up with her and then another water stop would come. Around mile 8 she veered off to use the bathroom and I kept going (I have a huge anti-porta potty rule and have so far lucked out when it comes to going during the race). Around mile 12 I could kind of see her out of the corner of my eye but assumed she would catch up soon enough. At the halfway point I glanced down at my watch saw 2:10 and honestly felt amazing. I ran into Mike and he ran with me for the next mile encouraging me on how I should finish the 2nd half of the race...continue doing what I was doing and if I felt good during the last 5 miles or so really pick it up. 

                                            
This point of the race is the point where I tend to completely space out and continue to just run. Mile 13-20 I just enjoyed the crowds and just didn't think about anything. I had my music going and I loved it. Right as I passed Chinatown, my iPod shut off and I thought it had lost battery. All the sudden I hear "hello..hello". It was my husband :) He had called to inform me that despite his minimal training he managed to run a BQ time of 3:04. I was super proud of him but still new I had about six miles to go. My paces per mile started to slow but I was determined to get in under 4:30. I opted to skip the last two water stops and just had to tell myself that all I had left was a 5K. I kept looking at my watch knowing I just had to slightly pick it up and I'd be there. Sure enough...I crossed the finish line at 4:30:04. That was an hour and fifteen minutes off of my previous marathon time!! It felt amazing to finish a marathon injury free and with so many people I had enjoyed training with.


Post Race
Well the thoughts of ending my marathon career on a high note and retiring from this distance was short lived. I had so much fun and ultimately am excited to experience this again. Knowing what I could achieve injury free was amazing! With that being said Janelle and I have agreed to do the Marine Corp Marathon next October. Registration begins in March and my goal is to continue running injury free and achieve a goal time in the three hour range. Until then it'll be winter training and enjoying a variety of workouts without the pressure of sticking to the training schedule.

7.06.2012

And The iPad Winner Is....

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a part of my iPad Raffle!!


7.05.2012

2012 Peachtree Road Race Recap

Well let me first begin with the only other 10K I've ever done....

2008 Bolder Boulder: My 1st 10K
In Colorado, one of the biggest Memorial Day events in Colorado is the Bolder Boulder (Not to mention it is the 2nd Largest 10K in the US). After going to school there for a year I had decided why not give the race a shot. Plenty of my other friends got to the finish line so why couldn't I? How hard could 6.2 miles really be?! Well when race morning actually came I was extremely nervous and this was the absolute LAST thing I wanted to be doing. I had not run a single mile prior to that morning but somehow thought I would survive. I managed to puke twice (once as we were walking to the start and again at the first mile mark). I was not prepared for this day at all and honestly it was miserable. Luckily Adam had already finished the race by the time I started so he came back and basically walked the entire course with me (as shown below). I did manage to finish the entire course but I was completely wiped out by the end of the day. 




AJC Peachtree Road Race 2012: My 2nd 10K - A NEW PR
Fast forward four years and my 2012 Peachtree Road Race experience was the exact opposite of the Bolder Boulder. While Adam & I are both members of the Atlanta Track Club, which automatically guarantees you a bib into Peachtree, we didn't end up purchasing them back in March during the two week window. We figured we could just do it next year and didn't really think too much about it until this past week. Honestly up until Monday neither of us had planned on racing and figured we'd just enjoy the 4th by relaxing and hanging out by the pool.

When I was watching the news on Tuesday morning I got super excited about all of the hype surrounding the race and decided I would just purchase a bib off of Craigslist and do the race. I didn't bother looking for a bib for Adam because he would have qualified for a top seed bib and didn't want to start any farther back then necessary as it would slow him down trying to weave through the people. That morning I probably emailed ten different listing on Craigslist and on all of them I quickly received a reply of "Sorry I just sold it". There were a limited number of bibs that fit my criteria: 1) start time before 8:30 AM - needed to avoid the heat and 2) Under $50 (the bibs were $45 if you had them shipped to your house, $35 if you went to the Expo).  Luckily at around 10:45 I finally got a hold of a race number - I was going to be representing "Scott" a 39 year old Male from Marietta, Georgia. Also Adam managed to get his running buddy's bib which was in the Top Seed wave (basically the first row of people behind the Kenyans) so we were both going to get to do Peachtree.

As the day progressed my emotions surrounding the race fluctuated between super excited to super nervous! What if I'm not ready? Have a really trained enough, since the marathon my longest run has only been 6 miles? Can I run the race under an hour? Will I survive "Cardiac Hill"? All of these thoughts were racing through my mind the rest of the day as slight flashbacks of the Bolder Boulder came back. I knew I was in MUCH better running shape than I was back then but I was still nervous.


All Ready for the Race!
When race morning came I began the morning with my normal pre-run breakfast (one piece of toast with peanut butter & honey) and overall felt good. Adam had left about 45 min prior to me as he was set to take off at 7:30 and I wasn't going to start until 8:18. While our house is only 2.5 miles from the start line, we decided it would be easiest if we parked at the Marta station and then walk to the start.


2012 AJC Peachtree Road Race Course 
At 8:18 it was finally time for Wave L to take off. I didn't want to take off too fast and burn out but I also wanted to push it fairly hard. I wanted to prove to myself what I could do, especially injury free. As you will notice with the elevation map, from mile marker one to three it is all downhill. At around the 9 min mark I kept looking around hoping to see the first mile marker. I glanced down at my watch and it was now 9:45...then 10:15...and then 11:00. I knew there was no way I was running that slow and obviously had to have missed the sign but I still had no idea what pace I was actually going. Finally as I hit mile marker 2 I looked down at my watch and saw 18:23. I was averaging a 9:11 pace and felt great!


As I approached "Cardiac Hill" I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was a long hill and that I should be careful but as I was cruising on up and still feeling good. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked up and saw the sign "Congrats, you have made it to the top of Cardiac Hill". I knew I still had a few climbs to accomplish but at mile 4 I was at 37:34. The next mile I slowed down to about a 10:55 pace as it was a continuous uphill and I had drank a little too much water at the waterstop. At this point I knew I had less than 12 min to run 1.2 miles and get to the finish line if I wanted to achieve my goal of completing the race in under an hour. I started to push my running at a level I never thought was possible but I managed to achieve my goal. I had finished the race in 59:41 a new personal record!


Happiest Race Finish EVER



Also a HUGE Congrats to Adam who PR'ed on his 10K!!

7.02.2012

Week 8: Heat, Hills, and Humidity

iPad Raffle Update
Thank you to the following people who have pledged to donate as a part of the iPad Raffle. I truly appreciate all of your support!!

Alex Reedy
Allen Moore
Andrea Trout
Anne Kocurek
Beverly Thompson
Brandon Gouin
Brian Curtis
Carly Smith
Caryn Steinman
Cassidy Nelson
Chris Fredrick
Chris & Tangee Osswald
Dan Gross
Esther & Mike Shepherd
Gerardo Vitiello
Fan Hong
Janelle Brunke
Janice Henderson
John & Carolyn Benyshek
Kara Raphel
Karen Lou
Keith & Rosa Benyshek
Kevin O'Rourke
Lindsey Rodriguez
Matt Hanna
Meg Lyon
Mike Sklar
Mike Spewak
Murat Watson
Patrick Bell
Rashaunda Henderson
Reed Moll
Sharon Hill
Shirley Perales
Suzanne Larson
Tim & Val Coy
Vickie Franklin
* The purple font indicates more than one raffle ticket purchased

While all of the raffle tickets have been sold, you can still make a donation to this great cause at: Run Kimi Run - Chicago Marathon. The raffle will be held this Friday, July 6th and the winner will be announced on my blog. Good Luck!!

Running Log June 24th - June 30


This week my right IT band started to have a slight "discomfort". I'm not going to say that it hurt but there was something that certainly didn't feel right. Because of this I went ahead and took Thursday and Friday off. I did go to the PT on Friday and he stated that it was probably the increased mileage combined with the increase in hills, but overall it's looking good & to keep with my training & stretches. 

Brick Workout
Two Friday's ago Adam & I were hanging out with some of his med school friends and two of the girls in his class had mentioned that they had signed up for their first Sprint Triathlon, Tri 2 Remember, on July 15th. Somehow by the end of the conversation they had convinced me that if I could train for a marathon, I'd have no problem getting ready for this race & should do it with them. I managed to agree to give the training a shot although at the back of my mind, I was very skeptical. 

I woke up Saturday morning to head out to GTS and after pondering this decision a little longer and ultimately decided I would stick with only marathon training for this season but next spring I would start training for triathlons. I did get excited that morning though because Adam was still sleeping so I decided to go ahead and use our "shared" Garmin watch. Well...really it was Adam's birthday present from his parents but it has become "ours". Isn't that the whole point of marriage..sharing :) 
"Our" New Watch
Anyway, that morning I ran with a different group of girls who are on the Chicago team and I really enjoyed running with them. As much as I love running with my former Publix teammates, I have found myself really pushing myself and ultimately trailing back on the longer runs with them so running with people who are more in my pace range has been great. We ended up running about 5.5 miles and afterwards I felt great. I had paced myself to a point where I could have easily gone a few more miles. Unfortunately for me, I communicated how I was feeling with Adam but neglected to inform him that I'd be waiting until next spring to start triathlons. Needless to say I walked into the house only to find my bike all set up & Adam super excited for us to go out for a bike/run. Mind you it was also 95 degrees out so I wasn't the most trilled but I didn't want to crush his excitement.
Seeing as though this was only the fourth time I had ridden a bicycle as an adult, I still have a lot to learn in terms of climbing hills & learning to better shift. We ended up going for about nine miles and in the end I was exhausted not to mention a little sore as I had forgotten to change into my padded bike shorts, but I had a happy husband since he loves when we do active things together :)

Negative Splits
My Negative Split Goal
This week during our Tuesday night track workout we were focusing on Negative Splits. The overall purpose of negative splits is to run a bit slower for the first third of the run, pick up the pace in the middle, and finish strong with strength and speed. This is the exact opposite of the way I normally run so has been a bit of a challenge this week to implement. On Wednesday during our Big Peach Run, Annie & I managed to accomplish this only because we had started out slow because of the heat and half way through the run got into a really good conversation and next thing you know we had looked at our time & indeed achieved a negative split. This week my goal is to really determine what my marathon pace will be and thus start aiming for negative split times. 

HEAT, HILLS & HUMIDITY

The saying describes this town perfectly. Up until this week I had considered this summer in Atlanta to be pleasant. Certainly the evening runs had been hot but they weren't unbearable. That feeling changed on Thursday when we began a three day triple digit heat wave. On Friday was 104 degrees. On Saturday it was forecasted to be 106 degrees, an all time high for this city!! With our GTS run normally scheduled for 8AM we had some hope of getting out before the heat got bad EXCEPT for the fact that we had an injury clinic that lasted a full hour. By the time we stretched and got out on the road it was 9:15 and easily 85 degrees. Plain and simple it was HOT!! There were a few stretches along the path that I got really light headed but luckily we had enough water stops along the route to keep us hydrated. I find that my problem tends to be drinking enough to keep myself cool & hydrated while balancing the after effect of the water sloshing around my stomach.  With double digit runs starting in about two weeks, I'll need to practice balancing the two and hydrating more the day before.

Officially Registered
This afternoon I officially received my race entry confirmation. Looks like this combined with a purchased plane ticket means it's 100% official...I am running the Chicago Marathon in October!! 


6.24.2012

7 Weeks In...15 Weeks To Go



Seven Weeks Into the New Season and Things Are Going Great! As I sit and write this there are exactly 104 days 19 hours and roughly 45 minutes until the big day! Since it's been so long since my last blog post I'll limit this to the top seven things that have been going on with my training since the marathon ended in March.

1. LAZY TIME
After the marathon ended on March 18th my body (more like my legs) felt like they hated me and thought I was a complete idiot for signing up for another race. It took me about a solid week to finally stop hobbling around and walk like a normal person. I decided to give my legs a little longer of a break and committed to a two week break of being a lazy bum and doing absolutely nothing physical.

After about 2.5 weeks of this...

I (with the prodding of my super athletic husband) finally decided it was time to get off the couch and start working out again. I attempted to go on a few short runs but those were not successful. I pathetically got about 1/2 a mile away from the house when my knees/IT band started hurting so I quickly would turn around and end up on the elliptical for about 10 min until I was once again in pain. Needless to say, my legs weren't quite ready to start running again so I finally took up Adam's offer to give swimming a try.

2. Swimming
Dynamo Swim Club - Masters is the swim program Adam regularly attends and he's been trying to get me to go with him since I moved down here last year. Realizing that this may actually help my legs and be much more enjoyable than running I caved in and joined him one Monday night. I was pleasantly surprised with how nice swimming felt on my legs. In addition there were some TNT tri team alum in my swim lane so it was great having their support while I "learned to swim". I had grown up going to the pool but I had never really learned how to properly swim and Coach Maria did a great job helping me along!  I continued to swim a few more times and finally decided it was time to start running again.


3. Orthopedic Appointments & Physical Therapy
May 2nd...exactly 45 DAYS after the Publix Marathon it was time to lace up those shoes again and really make an effort at running again to get ready for Chicago. I decided my legs were going to be a little tight but I should be able to do a nice easy two miles. I felt pathetic knowing that just two months prior eight to ten miles seemed like nothing and now going two miles seemed like a marathon. Unfortunately I only got about a mile before the pain in my right IT band began to hurt again. After having Adam analyze my leg it we decided it was time for me to go in just to make sure I hadn't broken anything and that I'd be cleared to begin training again.

A few days later I got an appointment with Dr. Mason over at Emory and luckily he agreed that I hadn't done any permanent damage; however, the significant pronation in both feet combined with my bowed legs weren't the best combination for marathon training. He suggested the following:
Nike Structure Triax 15 

Green SuperFeet
Physical Therapy
Adding the high inserts into my already supportive shoe plus four to six weeks of PT was his suggestion to help correct the pronation in my feet and alleviate the pain in my IT band.

Me: "Am I okay to start running again?"
Dr. Mason: "Of course, but it's going to hurt a lot" (with a slight chuckle in his voice)

4. Base Milage
Sure enough Dr. Mason was correct and running was not pain free. It took some time to get use to the inserts but with less than a week until the first GTS (group training session) I had no choice but to start easing back into running and get to the point of being pain free. My PT decided one of the reasons I was having so much pain was because my hip alignment was off and so we had to work for a while on correcting that, not to mention we figured out that one leg is a cm longer than the other. All these things kept signaling I should be doing half-marathon distance, not the full thing but my determination to complete a full marathon & enjoy it continued to outweigh the cons.

Chicago TNT - 2012
Adam helped build me a training plan for the first few weeks and it called for seven days of running which I thought was CRAZY! I was use to running four times a week not all seven days!! His argument was I needed to build a solid base & not ramp up as quickly this time so most days my run wasn't longer than a mile & a half. Since the fall TNT season officially started, I have stuck to the schedule pretty well but have added a few extra miles here and there and overall my legs have been feeling great.
Here was my training schedule for the past week:



5.  Track Workouts
This season the TNT coaches are hosting Tuesday night track workout which have been super beneficial. While I missed a few of the nights, it has been great getting to train with the team and learn how to become a more effective runner. 

Strides - This season we are working to maintain 90 strides per minute. 

According to Jack Daniels in Running Formula:
The main disadvantage of this slower turnover is that the slower you take steps, the longer you spend in the air, and the longer you’re in the air, the higher you displace your body mass and the harder you hit the ground on landing. When you consider that many running injuries are the result of landing shock, it’s not surprising that experienced runners tend to turn over faster than beginning runners do.
This has taken a little getting use to, but I think it is improving my running. 

Breathing - Maintaining a 2 or 3 step per inhale/ 2 or 3 step per exhale breathing pattern up hills, on flats, and on down hills. A 2:2 breathing rhythm enables you take about 45 breaths per minute, which is perfect for steady state, tempo runs, and marathon pace runs.

Pace - During last week's track workout we did our first timed mile to get a good idea of what our pace should be. This wasn't like gym class where you go balls to the wall and try and get the fastest time possible; rather, this was the pace you felt you could confidently continue to run for many more miles. I ended up running the mile in 9:20 which I was pleased with considering when I first started running about six months ago I would have been lucky to have consistently ran at a 10:30 pace. 


6. Adventure Thursday Runs
This past Thursday a few of us decided to do the Thursday Adventure Run which is hosted every third Thursday of the month from RoadRunner Sports in Atlanta.

Basically you go out and they have booths set up with various vendors and different gear that you can try. The had Garmin watches, Asics shoes, compression socks, fuel belts, and other pieces of equipment for you to use during the run which was pretty cool.

The group before the run
At 7:00 on the dot the map was released and we were off. The goal was to collect as many raffle tickets as you could within one hour and return to the start by 8:00 when the raffle prizes would be given out. We took off to the farthest location (BWW & Urban Active) and were able to collect the 7 tickets at each location and round back and collect at the other stops along the way.


In the end collected a good number of tickets, had a great time, and hoped we'd win some good prizes. They were giving out numerous store gift cards, $160 GC's for Asics, compression socks, Garmin watches and various other items. While we didn't win anything it was still a fun evening and we hope to continue to do it throughout the rest of the summer.

7. Fundraising 
First of all THANK YOU to the following people who have donated so far and helped me reach 27% of my fundraising minimum ($2,650). I couldn't do this without your support and I greatly appreciate it!!
Rodney Mirabal
Troy Henry
Alexis Lim
Ken Ishida
Mike Ricci 
Morgan Griffin

1) BRAND NEW iPad Raffle - If you haven't gotten your raffle ticket yet for a new iPad I still have about 25 remaining. Details are below in my previous blog post.

2) Fall TNT Fundraiser at Fado's: $10 gets you a pint glass with one beer ticket, appetizers, and a raffle ticket. It should be a great time to come out, get a drink, and support a good cause. If you're interested in a ticket leave a comment or send me an email!

3) Silent Auction Items Wanted: This season our team will once again be hosting a Facebook silent auction. If you have any items (Gift Cards, Weekend Beach/Mountain Getaways, Wine, Jewlery, Baskets, etc.) that you would like to contribute please let me know as these tend to be a great success!!

6.11.2012

Raffle for a NEW iPad!!


As many of you know, I’m working hard preparing for the Chicago Marathon in October. To help with my fundraising goal and make it fun for everyone I’d like to offer 50 of YOU the opportunity to enter a drawing for a NEW Apple iPad (Wifi, 16 GB) in exchange for a $30 donation.


How it works…if you make one pledge of $30 you are entered in a drawing with a maximum of only 50 other entrants (not like other drawings where there are thousands of other entrants). You CAN, of course, increase your chances by pledging more (example 2 pledges = $60, equals two entries in the drawing). 
If you have already donated towards my fundraising efforts (this includes my first Publix marathon) then each raffle ticket will only cost you $20. 
Here are the instructions:
  • The first 50 people to respond to me by e-mail (kimiko.coy@gmail.com) and pledge a $30.00 donation will be entered into the drawing. The first 50 will be determined by the time stamp in MY e-mail inbox.
  • I will confirm your participation with a direct message back to you (e-mail, etc.). If you don’t make it in the first 50 I’ll let you know if there will be another drawing (if so, you’ll be entered for the next one).
  • As soon as I have 50 participants I’ll send you a message letting you know it’s time to send in your pledge.  You’ll have one week from this notification to either donate online or send me a check  (I’ll then give you the details – address, etc.).  If I don’t receive it, participation will be opened to the next person in line.
  • You CAN pledge at a higher amount (in increments of $30) to be entered into the drawing multiple times.
  • As soon as all 50 slots are filled and the donations are received I will video tape and post the winning ticket!
  • The winner can select the color and engraving text. The iPad will be shipped directly to your home from Apple.
What’s in it for you…First, supporting a good cause by helping me raise money for cancer research. Second, a good possibility of winning a NEW iPad. Please feel free to pass this on to famiy, friends, etc.  Thanks for helping to make a difference!
Happy pledging!
NOTE: If you already have an iPad and just want to make a donation I would really appreciate this as well. Just respond and I’ll let you know how you can make a donation (ex. online, check, etc.).

6.08.2012

A Whole New Season, A Whole New Reason


In Memory of Grandma Benyshek

Well it's been almost three months and I am back into training for the Chicago Marathon and back to blogging about the process towards my second marathon!

While I will have a future post early next week regarding my first month of training, today's post is about why I am raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and why it means so much to me.  When I first joined Team in Training about seven months, I can honestly say it was more about the running aspect that happened to be paired with a good cause. Up until that point I had been fortunate enough not to have known anyone with cancer. Unfortunately this all changed two weeks ago when we found out my Granny had cancer. It was highly metastasized and within a matter of ten days of diagnosis, the cancer took her away. 

Since it was so aggressive it is unknown what type of cancer she actually had but regardless it is something that no one else should have to experience. This season I am raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma in memory of her and in hopes that there will one day be a cure which will prevent many others from losing their loved ones in this manner. Please join me in journey by donating to:


Thank you so much and rest in peace Granny B!!

3.28.2012

I SURVIVED MY FIRST MARATHON!!




First of all THANK YOU to everyone who supported me along the way to achieve this goal!! I wouldn't have been able to make it though without the emotional support throughout the training process, the generous donors who helped me raise money for such a great cause, and the amazing coaches I had along the way. All of you helped me out so much and I am so thankful for that!!

And now onto the top FIVE things I learned during race weekend:

1. Always pack your bag the night before and double check that you have everything!
For race weekend my parents flew down to provide additional support for my first marathon! I had to work later than expect that day so I decided to just meet them down at the hotel right away and I'd go back to the apartment later that evening to pack my bag for the weekend. After walking down to the expo to get our stuff we decided to come back and take a quick nap and by the time that was over we forgot an important detail of Atlanta TRAFFIC - especially on the day when the President decided to come to town. After trying to coordinate with Adam on how we'd get him downtown, we decided he'd pack my weekend back and if he forgot anything I'd go back sometime on Saturday. I went through all of the things I could possibly need and thought I had it all. Unfortunately on race morning I forgot one important element...DEODORANT. I went into a panic at 5:30 in the morning and couldn't imagine what I was suppose to do?! I went with the only option I had...use Adam's. It didn't have a pretty smell to it but hopefully it would do the job. At this point I realized how important this rule is!  

5:45 AM and nervous for the race

2. Enjoy the course and the people around you
Prior to the start of the race the TNT Publix team met up for some last minute information and to head to our corrals together. It was wonderful seeing all of my TNT friends and knowing that all of our training and fundraising came down to this day. We decided to start all together and remembered that we needed to pace ourselves especially at the beginning. Finally at 7:03AM our wave crossed the starting line and we were off. As we began the race it was amazing to see all of the crowd support and get to share this incredible moment with other people. For the group I was running with, our overall goal was to maintain a comfortable pace for the entire race. After the awe of the start of the race had worn off we got into our grove and it almost seemed like any other GTS run. We started talking about our daily lives, what was next, and interesting things we saw along the way. Next thing you know we were passing the half/full marathon split a little after mile six and it seemed like no time had passed. We were consistently averaging 10:45 a mile and it was like clockwork. We truly had settled into our routine and it made the time go by quickly!

Me and a few of my TNT running buddies

3. Listen to your body
As I passed the halfway point I was feeling great! While I was trailing back a bit from my initial starting group, I had my iPod in and had really gotten into a rhythm. I figured I'd be on track for a 4:30 marathon. My husband met me around this point and he too was surprised how quickly I had reached mile 13. I continued along the course and honestly just ran along with no problem and enjoying running and the sites around me. Unfortunately that feeling began to change around mile 19. At this point the pain in my hip and knee started to increase and I had hoped it wasn't going to give out on me now. I finally decided I had run the entire thing up until this point and could use a short walking break to give my IT band a moment to regather itself and then start up again. Unfortunately this was the beginning of the end. From that point on it was run/walk and the pain continued to grow (as did the number of hills). By the time I reached Piedmont Park (mile 21) I was holding back tears and limping. I called my husband and he finally met me at mile 22 and I could hardly walk. While there were hints of dropping out of the race in our conversation, I was determined to make it to the finish line! I realized I could no longer run without causing more injury to my leg but I was going to get my medal and make it to the end. It was so frustrating knowing how well I was pacing and how much training I had put into this event but at the end of the day I knew I had to really listen to my body and its injury.

My never ending battle....
4. Smile and be proud of yourself
While I was forced to walk to the finish line, the encouragement and support I received from spectators and TNT members/coaches/supporters was incredible! I'm not quite sure why, but all of the photographers decided to appear AFTER mile 23, you know the point where I was limping and fighting tears. If you go to marathonfoto.com and look at my pictures from the race (Bib 2741) you would think I was just taking a leisurely stroll with a smile on my face but I do promise you I was in a lot of pain; I wasn't going to let that show on the camera :) I realize I had so much to be proud of! I had raised over $1000 to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia and lymphoma. While I was in a lot of pain, it was only temporary in comparison to what those with cancer go through everyday. These individuals are the real heroes who helped to inspire me to make it to the finish line with a smile on my face knowing I was racing towards a cure!

Mile 24 - in pain but still smiling

5. TEAM IN TRAINING....ROCKS!
When I set out on the adventure almost five months ago I honestly wasn't sure if I would meet my fundraising goal much less make it to the finish line. I had never run more than four miles and honestly had never run continuously for more than 20 minutes. TNT changed all of this for me! Along the way I made great friends and achieved the unthinkable all while helping to raise money for a great cause! During the last mile all I could think about was my next marathon and how much I wanted to do it with TNT. And because of that I have signed up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October!! 

My new fundraising link can be found here: 

I really appreciate all of those who have followed my progress along the way! Ultimately I hope to continue updating this blog during my journey to Chicago. If I can reach $500 towards my fundraising goal by the start of the next season (May 19th) I promise I will update the blog on a weekly basis starting from the first day of training until the end in Chicago. Any and all donations are appreciated even if it is only $1, collectively we can make a difference! The fall season blogs will be a little more interesting than the winter as I will be facing a whole new factor - HEAT AND HUMIDITY.
GA TNT Publix 2012
Once again thank you for all of the support and I hope to update again soon!!

3.07.2012

Long Runs, Injuries, Vacation & Tapering

As much as I wanted to update this more often, it has once again been a month since my last post and so much has happened since then. First of all thank you Janelle & Alex for supporting my on this marathon journey and donating on my behalf!! I am 90% to my goal with 11 days until the big day and I appreciate it!!

At the end of my last blog post I had just ran 12 miles and was feeling pretty decent. The following week I continued my runs and continued to anticipate the 14 mile run on Saturday. Up until this point I hadn't missed a single run on the training schedule and was doing well and injury free. I woke up Saturday morning, enjoyed my usual routine of Peanut & Honey on Toast and proceeded to drive down to our meeting location in Buckhead. Unfortunately I got half way there and then lightning began to strike. Needless today the morning run was canceled and I proceed to drive home. I pondered running on the treadmill or waiting until later that afternoon but finally decided upon running with a few other TNT members on Sunday. 

Since this wasn't our usual GTS run we had to be self-sufficient, bring our own water, snacks, etc. This was something new for me as I had to try out a fuel belt and bring a gel along. I decided to bring some powerbar gummies as shown below:

The run started out like any other. We paced ourselves well and just continued with the motions until we got into our groove. Things were going great for the first half of the run and then we hit Clairmont road near the VA Hospital. For those of you not from Atlanta...it's a massive and LONG hill! It was important that we slow down but honestly, it still sucked!! To make things worse we pasted right in front of my apartment complex as we hit mile 9 and I wanted nothing more than to turn in and go home. Instead we had to keep trucking it for another 5 miles with plenty more hills in between. The four of us that day (Kevin, Alan, Mary, and myself) managed to keep each other on pace and motivate one another. I ended up not needing to eat the gels and managed my energy level pretty well. Unfortunately, by the time we got back to Piedmont Park I was struggling. The arches of my feet were hurting pretty bad and it was tough to even walk. I took Sunday off and the pain continued for quite a while.

The following we I maintained my normal training routine, but for the first time I skipped one of the midweek runs as I had to finish studying for the GMATs. I had hoped skipping one midweek run wouldn't make a difference and I would be fine for the 16 mile run on Saturday. For the Saturday run I once again brought along the powerbar gummies and set out for another long run. This weeks run was at the river which is always pretty great because it's relatively flat. We were quick to learn that this statement is only true if you are doing less than 10 miles. Anything after that requires a large uphill. 

Luckily I made it up that just fine as it occurred around mile 5. At about the one hour mark I tried my first gummy and it was surprisingly really good. I continued to run with no complaint and the arches of my feet were doing well. It was all great until we hit a downhill right before our turn around point at mile 8. Out of no where I just felt my knee doing something weird and from that point on my knee was on fire for the following 8 miles. I refused to turn around as I didn't want to walk or get driven back so I suffered through it but it was MISERABLE! I was fighting tears the last 4 miles or so and really started to feel the difference between soreness and injury. I drove home and honestly never wanted to move again. The next day I was limping around with a highly inflamed IT band and finally decided a massage was necessary. I went over to Massage Envy and got a sports massage. It honestly was one of the greatest things possible! At the of the massage I could finally walk again.

I attempted to run on Tuesday prior to our flight to Europe; however I only managed about 10 minutes until pain set in again. I decided I'd take Wednesday off as we were just getting into London and would try again on Thursday. On Thursday I left from our hotel, The Regency, and took off to run around Hyde Park/Kennsington Park 
It was great to explore the park as well as the surrounding areas and I managed to run six miles with no pain. It was great running on flat land and I felt the few days I had taken off would be great. I had planned on doing my ten mile run that Saturday morning right as we got into Paris; however, Adam and I decided we wanted to explore the town instead. It was extremely cold in the city but we managed to see a lot of places to include walking up the Eiffel Tower. Not only was it cheaper to walk up, but also the line to take the elevator would have taken nearly two hours just to get on the lift up. The walk up was great and I could tell the marathon training had really helped my lungs. We walked up all 668 stairs with no problem and got to enjoy some great views of the city. The walk down on the other hand was painful on my right knee. While I had been taking time off from running, Adam and I were still managing to walk around every where we could and were easily walking six to ten miles a day. Not to mention if you know my husband you know he never takes the elevator; thus we walked up every set of stairs possible as well.

I was deteremined to stick to the schedule as much as possible so the next morning Adam and I set out to run 10 miles along the Seine River. We set out nice and early and we got some funny looks. Why you might ask?? Because it was snowing, something that only happens in the Paris city center about once every five to ten years!! It looked something like this:
The first few miles felt fine; however at about three and a half miles my IT band started hurting again! Being stubborn I stopped to stretch it out and was determined to finish the run. Adam asked if I wanted to turn around but I simply said no I would survive. That was a dumb move on my part! By the time we hit the five mile turn around I was walking and even that was painful. Walking up and down all of the stairs the day prior really had aggravated my knee and it was not in a forgiving mood. I normally take about two days off after my long runs so I proceeded to only walk the remainder of our time in Paris and I figured I'd try again once we got to Barcelona.

Barcelona was AMAZING. The town, the people, the food...it was all wonderful! I wish I could say I got in a run while we were there but honestly we were just enjoying our honeymoon and my knee simply needed a break. Maybe running in Rome would be a better idea?!
Nope!! Once again the cold front of Europe continued and I used this as a nice excuse to enjoy our honeymoon and give my knee a break. It was hurting every time I would sit down for an extended period of time and stand up, when I would go up and down the stairs, and even when I was just walking down the street. At this point I decided my knee needed time to heal and I would take off the rest of the trip and start again once we got to Colorado. Next up we headed off to Prague and enjoyed the final stop on our honeymoon. It really was a great two weeks!

Once we got back to Colorado I knew I needed to start running again but I once again took a few days off. I knew I HAD to do the ten miler that Saturday as I had basically taken two weeks off and had skipped the 18 miler. I found out Janelle was doing a 10M race in Littleton so I signed up with her. The first three miles she and I were averaging about 10min miles and I felt pretty decent. 
Then at around the four mile mark I told her just to go ahead as I was feeling exhausted thirsty and just out of shape. From that point on the rest of the miles were a struggle. Everything that could possibly hurt, DID. I really was kicking myself in the butt as I had spent nearly three months training and was struggling to do 10 miles. How was I suppose to do 20 the following weekend?!? I finished the race at 1:54 which wasn't the greatest time but seeing as though I hadn't run in quite a few days I was willing to accept it. Once we got home I iced my IT band and hoped everything would get better for the upcoming weekend. 

We arrived back in Atlanta and I was slated for a tough running week. Tuesdays run was a 5 miler and I was amazed at how nice it was to be at a lower elevation and in a warmer climate. My body was happy again! The next night was 10 miles and it was great. I figured my body had rested and was ready to go again! When Thursday's five miler came around I did the first 2.5 until my knee started to hurt and finally decided to call Adam to come pick me up as I wasn't going to risk doing the same thing that happened in Paris; I was going to run 20 miles on Saturday!

All week long I was anxious about this run. For those of you who know me well, it won't surprise you to know all of the "20 mile run" Google searches I did on how I should feel, what I should eat, and overall was I prepared?? The day before the run I proceed to eat pizza for lunch, mozzarella sticks for an afternoon snack and then spaghetti for dinner. Talk about a carb overload! I was bummed that night as it was med school "Cadaver Ball" and because of the run the next morning I could only dress up and have one drink. After the pregame I drove Adam and some of our friends to the Fox and I headed home for some sleep before the big day.
I woke up at 6:45 the next morning and got myself ready for the morning. I made sure I brought along my gummies as well as "Gu" as that is what will be along the course. We were leaving from Chastain Park to try and include some hills that would be similar to the actual marathon. We took off at 7:45am and Alan and I ran together with the mentality we were going to take it easy and try and keep the same pace of about 10 min miles the entire time. We stayed a little bit behind our usual group and maintained the pace. At around mile 7 I started to eat my first few gummies as well as took a salt packet. At the half way point I honestly was feeling great and continued to feel well through the remainder of the run. Certainly as we got into the 18+ range my legs just wanted to be done but I certainly wasn't feeling as I was after the 16 miler where I never wanted to run again. I managed to finish the 20 miler at around 3 hours and 40 minutes and for the first time felt confident that I could actually do this marathon in three weeks. The longest run was under my belt and it was finally time to taper.
On Tuesday I came home for a rather stressful two days at work and wasn't in the mood to run so Adam & I decided I'd go out on and bike while he ran. At first it was a great thing, I was going faster on the bike and he was struggling to keep up. Unfortunately that ended quickly! Needless to say the hills got the better of me as I have no idea how to use gears on a bicycle. I really need more practice riding a bike! Wednesday night was our eight miler and it was another good night out. I'm glad I went out and ran with the usual group at Park Tavern as they kept me motivated to just keep going.  I took Thursday off due to knee pains and ran 5.5 on Saturday followed by 3.5 on Sunday. Overall my knee is doing well but it is still struggling with the occasional pain. Last night I was able to run 4 miles without pain and today I did eight, but I do have to admit I walked the big hills as it was putting too much pressure on my knee. The moment it starts to hurt I am backing off of it because I have come to the realization that I do have a solid base, it's just staying healthy and resting my muscles so that I am strong on March 18th. With 11 days left I am definitely feeling a bit anxious and excited all at the same time. I really hope I have a good leg/knee like I did on my 20 miler rather than the bad day I had on the 16 miler. For those of you in Atlanta I have the race can be found here and I would certainly love to see your smiling faces cheering along the course :) 



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