Almost Half Way There!

After talking on the phone tonight with one of my best friends, she informed me that I don't update often enough, which promoted me to decide to update tonight (not to mention I'm avoiding studying for the GMAT).  

Running Update

Tuesday - 4 Miles
This week the weekly runs started to increase in mileage a bit. For the past few months most of the weekly runs have been 3 miles, which I've established a pretty neighborhood routine for. Since this week included a 4 mile run I decided to run with someone else in Piedmont Park. It definitely helps to keep the runs enjoyable! Sarah and I debated all afternoon on if we were actually going to go out and run as it had been raining but finally we decided to just go for it and it was actually a pretty enjoyable run. It was great getting to know someone new and not having to run alone.
Wednesday - 5 Miles
The midweek runs have continued to be at Piedmont Park which is a perfect location for me to meet after work. This week we changed up our usual course and ran from Park Tavern to Piedmont then up to 26th and turned around. It was great to change the scenery and have more of a down hill on the way back! Also as we started off the run I passed my usual boot camp group, which just started back up!  Oh how I miss my workout group and can't wait to go back in March!! Kim Fleming with Keep It Moving Fitness helped me to get into pre-marathon/wedding shape and is an excellent personal trainer!

Thursday - 4 Miles
Although I've learned to enjoy running outside when it's cold, the one thing I struggle with is rain and humidity. That night I had gotten home late from work and by the time we had eaten dinner and had time to digest food it was already approaching 8:45. Normally I would have just said screw it, ate some dessert, and gone to bed; however, in this case, I realized that skipping runs would not benefit me in the long run and would probably hinder me. Up until this point I've been relatively injury free and have come back accomplishing more and more mileage so I stuck to the plan, got my lazy butt up and went to the gym. Lately gym running has been a bit of a struggle as especially since I get tired and bored. When you're on the treadmill your pace is clearly set and you know how many minutes are left to go. There's really no way of speeding up the process. The most recent app I've used on my phone is Rounds (it's more so for Power Hour), however it has played a great role in terms of my music ADD running brain. It helps me take my mind off of running as its changing the songs on my iTunes every 60 sec. While listening to music is my normal gym routine, I mixed it up by watching Revenge on Hulu. Some how the intensity of the show got me through all 4 miles in 40 min exactly. It was honestly one of the first times I had ran continuously on the treadmill without needing/wanting to stop. As always Thursday night runs end in excitement knowing that Friday is always a rest day!

Saturday - 12 MILES!!
Waking up early for a run Saturday morning has finally started to feel routine for me. I finally have gotten smart enough to set aside my clothes the night before which allows me to sleep in until the last possible minute the next morning. Since we were back at the church it was a closer drive so I didn't actually get out of bed until 7:20 for our 8:00AM meeting time. I had my usual piece of toast with peanut butter and honey and then was out the door. It was a rather chilly morning but I had hoped I had adequately dressed in my tights, underarmor, jacket, and gloves. 

Prior to our run we had a nutrition clinic. She gave us the basics of what we should be eating, how to plan out our meals, and if/when we should be eating on our long runs. My dad and I had talked about this the previous week and we decided I should probably start integrating food into my runs, especially since they're starting to be 2+ hours. Despite this advise, I didn't bringing a source of "food" (a power bar, cliff shots, gels, etc.) because no one else was doing it yet on the runs. If they weren't, I probably didn't need it either...or so I thought. 

After the nutrition clinic we warmed up, did some stretches and were finally out on the road by about 9AM. Mary and I had started off the run together at a fairly decent pace and were quickly joined by the large crowd of "fast" runners. We managed to keep on pace with them and we noticed it was great being able to run with a larger group and interact with no people. I started to realize that I was doing more listening than talking, just to keep pace, but for me that was still enjoyable. It allowed me to not think too much about the run and get to know the other runners. We ended up running with a group of about 12 people and it was nice because for some of the splits people had the ability to run faster or slower but we'd all end up back together by the time we'd reach the next water stop. For the most part I felt good about the run, up until about mile 9 or so. 

While Atlanta has many big hills to overcome while running, I've learned there is usually the reward of an equally sized downhill after each one. I had used this mentality when attempting to conquer said hill on mile 9. Apparently I was running faster than normal because one of the girls even commented "Wow look at Colorado go you're really picking up the pace for this hill". I could see the hill and knew that reward of a downhill was oh so close. Little did I know that this hill on Jett Road had it out for me. It ended up being a quick downhill (less than 0.1 of a mile) and then an entirely different hill. In total it was a 1.12 mile climb and I was struggling by the second half. For the first time since week 1, I had to stop and walk for a good minute or two to catch my breath and refocus myself. Once I took this breather I got myself going again and struggled through it. We hit a water/Gatorade stop after about half a mile and the Gatorade was just what I needed in terms of an energy level. The last 5K ultimately was a struggle as my pace decreased and it became harder and harder to keep myself going. It wasn't as if it was because I was out of shape at this point, but it was more so that my body had run out of food supply to keep gathering energy. Since it was already 10:30, I had been running for more than 90 min and I hadn't eaten in just about 3 hours. At this point I realized that for all long runs going forward bringing a bar of some sort was crucial. In the end we completed the 12 mile run with plenty of water stops along the way and had a time of 2:06.

Tonight - 3 Miles
I had set out to do a gym run today after dinner as its rather rainy and humid out. Unfortunately by the time Adam & I reached the gym, the treadmills were all taken. Normally I would have waited around, given the "I'm watching you and I know you've been on longer than 30 minutes" stare until someone got off; however, impatiently Adam decided that we were going to go running outside at 8:30PM instead. I was initially reluctant (he might even use the term whiny) as we tend to run at very different speeds and I feel as though in terms of a work he doesn't get much out of it. Needless to say it ended up being a great night out and as he put it "a lovely date night run".

Fundraising Update
On Saturday we held our team Silent Auction. The venue ended up not being the most suitable for bidding so they decided to change it to a Facebook Silent Auction. The items can be found here. Unfortunately the album wasn't created as public so people who are not friends with the coordinator cannot directly comment. With that being said if there is anything you'd like to bid on please send me a message and I will gladly do that for you. The bidding will be open until Friday at Midnight and there are some really great items! If you live out of town and end up bidding on something I can ship it out to you as well! 

While they haven't been officially added yet, it looks as though by the end of the silent auction process I will have achieved roughly $800!! At which point I will only need $200 to achieve my goal! Every little bit helps and if you can donate to this great cause I would greatly appreciate it!!

Thank you to Mike Spewak and Yolanda Davis for your donations this week!!


Running Towards Double Digits

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far through my page and through the Silent Auction!!  
Carolyn Benyshek
Jill Laverick

I am 38% of the way towards my fundraising goal and would greatly appreciate anything you can do to help me reach the finish line!  

The power of your money
$2,000 - the cost of a patient's co-pay for a 30-day supply of a cancer drug
$1,500 - the cost of a patient's co-pay for 3 weeks of chemotherapy
$800 - the cost of a patient's 1 month co-pay of medical costs
$300 - the cost of 1 round of radiation treatment co-pays
$250 - the cost of 1 IV therapy session co-pay
$42 - the cost 1 anti-nausea pill for a person in treatment
$5 - the cost to sent an info packet to a newly diagnosed patient 


Now onto the part you've been waiting for...a recap of the past three weeks of training.

Week 6              Long Run: Six Miles             Total Week Mileage: 19
Looking back on this week I don't think there were too many highlights. We ran the six mile course in 1 hour and 11 miles and it was a nice peaceful run. Some of the homes in that area of Buckhead are spectacular and definitely a great neighborhood to run through. With six weeks completed my aches and pains are surprisingly minimal. Even though my legs or various muscles may hurt at the beginning of the run, I'm quickly learning that if I just keep going they eventually disappear and I can keep on going.   
The good news is that my parents are not only coming down the weekend of the race, but also doing it with me! We signed my dad up for the marathon and my mom is going to do the half. It'll be a great family running weekend :) Now hopefully Adam won't have to work in the hospital that weekend and will be able to cheer us all on!

Week 7              Long Run: Eight Miles             Total Week Mileage: 19
As many of you, I love sleeping in; thus, getting up for Saturday morning runs is sometimes a bit of a struggle. This week was no different. We had changed locations to the river and of course I left the house at the last possible minute. By the time I arrived for the run it was already 8:15 and the group (and my usually running buddies, Leanne & Mary) had already taken off. Since we had never ran this course I figured I would run a little faster to catch the group (they were only about 5 min ahead of me). Needless to say I was running way faster than my normal pace. I quickly caught up but still hadn't find my running buddies. I kept running at this faster pace and soon enough started running with this girl Corey. We started chatting and it was nice having someone to run with. We had a great conversation and next thing you know I'm continuing at this faster pace (she later informs me she was on the XC team at Georgia Tech). We hit the 4 mile turn around and as we start heading back I see Mary & Leanne behind us, indicating that I really was running way faster than normal. Oddly enough I felt great during the run and was able to hold a conversation through most of the run. The only bit of a struggle was the final hill while trying to keep a conversation but I got through it. In the end we finished that run (including the water stops) in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Compared to the previous weeks I really increased my team and was rather proud of myself. I wasn't sure if this increased pace was something I was going to keep up with but it was a great feeling.

8-Mile Run Course
The Wednesday run was at Piedmont Park again which I thoroughly enjoyed because its much closer to the house! Since it was in-between Christmas there were only a few of us out there. Of the marathon group I was one of the only women out there so internally I felt as though I needed to keep up with the guys to make sure I didn't get left behind. Once again I ended up at a faster than normal pace but it felt great. We finished the 5 miles in 50 minutes. I started to realize maybe this "faster" pace was actually a pretty normal pace for me, I just needed to push myself a little harder.

Week 8              Long Run: Eight Miles             Total Week Mileage: 19
Saturday morning we were back out at the river for the same course as the previous week. Leanne and I ran that course and I was happy to be back at my "normal" pace and taking my time. We ran the same course in an hour and thirty minutes and for some reason I felt worse than I had the previous week. I quickly started to realize that by the end of the run I was having some aches in my legs that I hadn't been experiencing in the past few weeks. I started to question if by slowing down I was changing my strides and just needed to keep going harder. In the end I realized that I need to speed my pace up a little bit but not tremendously.

The week's runs were pretty normal. Tuesday was rather chilly so I made sure to get my three mile run in during lunch. Wednesday's five miles were at Piedmont again. We managed to run the course in roughly the same time as the previous week and I left feeling great. Thursday I added some more hills into my three mile run to give myself a little more of a challenge. Everyone keeps telling us how hilly of a course the actual marathon will be so I try and incorporate them in when I can. Luckily our neighborhood is full of them, which has made the Saturday, rather flat courses much easier.

Saturday, January 7 - Long Run: Ten Miles 
The day had finally come for double digits. I had felt confident about the two previous weeks so thought that this week shouldn't be too bad; however, psychologically the notion of TEN miles seems much more daunting than eight. 
The Team in Training group before the run. I'm the little dot, two to the left of the woman in the yellow jacket

Since we were back at the river, we were all pretty familiar with the course. This time we just had to continue out on Columns Drive for an extra mile then turn around and come back the same way. It's amazing how far we've come because I felt great through almost the entire run. During our last water stop, about a mile from the end, we took a longer than normal water break and prepared ourselves for the last hill. That extra few minutes of walking and stretching was the equivalent of taking off painful high heels after a night of dancing then putting them back on to go home...IT WAS initially PAINFUL. My legs started tensing up a bit as they had already gone nine miles and were tired. Once we hit the hill I just went full force up and was surprised how much energy I still had left. After an 1:55 of running I had completed my first double digit run and survived! 

Today I woke up and definitely felt rather sore. Our Sundays are suppose to be 3-4 miles or cross training. For the past two months I've used Sundays as an extra rest day. I'm starting to think that today I might actually follow what's on the calendar and try and get rid of the lactic acid sooner so that the recovery for this week comes faster. This weeks runs consist of four, five, and four followed by 12 miles on Saturday. The mileage is quickly growing but some how my legs keep up with the challenge and just keep going :)  I never thought I'd actually say this but I'm starting to really enjoy running.  
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