Friday, October 19, 2012


This summer I met Lois through our Strong Running Mama group and through her I also met her friend Jenny.  Both of these women I have come to consider friends.  Jenny and I have spent a lot of time training together for the Hudson Mohawk Marathon since we had similar goals.

I first met Lois at the Make it a Great Day Half Marathon in May.  There was a pretty big group of Strong Running Mamas running it and I really only met Lois briefly at the start.  A few weeks later I was looking for a group to do an early weekday run with and Lois responded by saying that she and a few friends had a run planned and I was welcome to join them. 

As we were getting ready for that first run together Lois pulled out an inhaler and took a few puffs.  I just assumed she had asthma and asked her about it.  She then told me that not only did she have asthma she was also a lung cancer survivor celebrating 6 years of life.

Her story has been an inspiration to me all summer as I trained to try to make my goal.  She is one of the most positive, determined people I know.  She truly lives life to the fullest.  She's an amazing runner.  She was not only a runner before being diagnosed with cancer but she ran her next marathon nine months post surgery and she hasn't stopped.  She ran her 10th marathon on 10/10/10 and has run many more since then. 

Lois, Jenny and Lois' daughter will be running the NYC Marathon on November 4th to represent the Lungevity Foundation.  I encourage you to check out their page and consider donating.

I'm so excited for them.  They are going to have an amazing race in NYC.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


My speedy friend Jenny has been raving to me about her Newtons all summer.  I've been considering trying them out but didn't want to try out new shoes during marathon training.  Last night our local running store, Fleet Feet, was holding a Newton clinic so it was the perfect opportunity for me to try them.

As soon as I got there I saw Darlene, a fellow SRM.  It was great to see her since I really haven't had a chance to catch up with her since she injured her ankle last year.  I think the last time I saw her was in the spring at the Freihofer's Race.

The Newton rep gave us all shoes to wear and gave us some background on the shoes and how they could help us improve our form.  The shoes felt strange at first but not in bad way. They were very lightweight and because of the way they are designed it felt like you were standing differently in them.

According to the Newton website they are:

"designed with a minimal “drop” – or height difference – between the height of the heel and the ball of the foot. A more level-to-the-ground platform positions you to support a natural running motion."

Also instead of a foam base they use a:

"biomechanical sensor plate, which allows you to sense the ground so you can stride more efficiently and lightly – some might even say intelligently, the way nature intended."

The rep took us outside and went through some drills with us on proper running form.  I found this part extremely interesting.  He talked to us about shortening our strides and showed us the difference between an optimal running form and an incorrect running form.  I've never taken a form clinic before so this was all very helpful.  We did some drills like high knee drills and butt kicks and a very funny skip step drill that made us all look ridiculous but was helpful in demonstrating the points he was making.

Once we put all of it together and ran I could really see how the shoes could help improve form so I decided to get a pair.  I am due for new shoes and since I'm not really in training mode right now it's the perfect time to try something different.  I can always go back to my trusty Asics. 

They fitted me for the Lady Isaac's.  They are considered a transitional shoe as opposed to other models like the Gravity.  They are the recommended model for making the first switch to Newtons.  I took them out for a short run today to see how they felt and so far so good.  Both the rep and Jenny advised me to break them in slowly so we'll see how they feel after the next few weeks and I'll give you an update on how I like them.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to Normal

I'm finally starting to feel back to normal after being so tired last week.  I'm back to running and feeling great.

Friday evening was a gorgeous but cold.  Since it did nothing but rain here last week Mia was itching to go to the playground.  I decided that was the perfect reason to try a few miles.  I ended up running 4 slow miles with her in the stroller and I felt great.  Once the run was over I felt like myself again.  I guess I just needed to force myself back out there.

Sunday my friend Elisa needed to run 22 miles.  While most of our running group are just coming off their marathons, Elisa is running NYC next month so this was her long run.  A bunch of us decided to try to help her through it by running some of it with her.  The plan was to help her through the middle 10 miles.  Of course we woke up to very cold rainy weather.  Poor Elisa! It was the kind of day when you just want to stay in bed.  We couldn't bail though, Elisa needed to get her run in! Elisa has helped so many members of our groups get through their first half and full marathons that it just didn't seem right to let her run out there in this weather by herself.  So off to meet Elisa I went and I'm so glad I did.  While it was cold and rainy once we started running it felt great to be out there.  My legs felt loose and I didn't have any pain.  Plus it was great getting to run with Elisa, Lara and Melissa D. I felt like I could easily do more than 10 and offered to help Elisa finish the rest but she told me she needed a few solo miles.

Today I overslept so I squeezed in 4 miles at lunch and managed and 8:58 pace.  Again I felt like I wanted to do more but unfortunately I needed to get back to work.

I'm still trying to figure out what my next goal is, trying to get myself into BQ shape, an ultra, another goal...I'm just not sure yet.  I'm kind of in that place right now where I want to do everything and having a hard time deciding what to focus on.  It feels weird to not be on a training plan right.  In the meantime I guess I will just enjoy my runs and try to cross-train a bit.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tired and Lacking Motivation

The first couple of days after the marathon I was pretty sore, probably more sore than I’ve ever been after a marathon. By Wednesday most of that was gone. The one thing that has remained is exhaustion. I keep telling myself each morning that I will get up and do an easy run but I can’t drag myself out of bed any earlier than necessary. I should instead run at lunch but I haven’t felt like that either. I have no energy and no motivation. I’m not even motivated to doing something else.

I’m giving myself until Sunday and then it’s back to it. I think some SRM’s are planning to run in the morning which should give me motivation to get back out there. It’s always more like catching up with friends than working out when we run together. Then next week I think I am going to plan a few runs and focus more on cross-training while I contemplate what my next goals are. Maybe my body and mind need a bit of a running break.

Anyone else feel like this after a big race?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hudson Mohawk Marathon Recap: I DID IT!!!!!

Yup! I finally did it...3:58:40!!! I finally broke 4 hours!

Anyway to back up a bit, I haven't written in forever.  I got caught up in enjoying the end of summer and training and life in general and just have had a hard time sitting down to write lately.  To catch up quickly, the end of training went very well.  I even PR'd by 10 minutes at a half marathon 3 weeks ago (1:49:19) so I felt confident and ready going into this race.  I knew I had a sub 4 hour marathon in me I just needed to go out there and get it.

On Sunday morning, Joe and Mia dropped me off at the start.  It was great.  The race started at 8:30 so we stayed home as long as possible that morning and he dropped me a little after 8.  I walked right to the start and found some of my friends.  I didn't have time for my usual pre-race jitters and million trips to the porta potties.  I wish every race could start so close to home like this.

I found my friends Jenny and Lois and we started to line up.  I've trained a lot with Jenny this cycle and we run a very similar pace and her goal was also sub 4 so we started off together.  Once again, I made my usual mistake.  We started off flying.  We were with the 3:35 pace group for several miles and were ahead of the 3:45 pace group until mile 10! I was feeling great, but in the back of my head I was nervous.  I had done this before in NJ and fell apart in the end.  Jenny was behind but every so often she would catch up to me and we would run together for a bit before going our own way.  At one point I got stuck in the middle of the 3:45 pace group and saw my friend Sheila.  Her goal was 3:45 and she was running strong.  We high-fived and wished each other luck and she flew by.  I found myself stuck in the 3:45 pack and not able to get out and I was getting tired.  Somewhere before the halfway point I got out of them and settled back into a more comfortable pace. 

While I was tiring, I still felt really strong.  Mentally I had broken the course up into chunks and I think that helped me a lot. I just kept focusing on completing each section.  The other thing that helped keep me going was my amazing husband.  He is the best spectator and supporter.  After dropping me off at the start he had planned to drive to a spot somewhere between the 6 and 8 mile mark so he and Mia could see me.  I knew that traffic and parking would be difficult so I wasn't sure exactly where I would see them but I knew the general area to watch for them.  Well we passed one of the parking areas off the path and I saw his truck driving, it looked like they were trying to park. I was so bummed.  I thought they had missed me because I was faster than they expected.  I was surprised about 2 miles later when I saw them waving at me from the road.  They could not park where I saw them so they drove to another spot.  They had just made it to see me at that point.  I didn't expect to see them again until close to the finish.  Joe told me his plan was to drive to the finish area and bike back with Mia in her seat and watch for me so they could give me a boost in the last few miles.  Well they surprised me! I saw them 4 more times on the course! I cannot explain how much it meant to me and helped me to have them out there cheering for like that.

The hardest section of the race for me was the home stretch, the 4.5 miles on the bike path that goes from Watervliet to the finish line in Albany.   This should have been easy for me because I have run this section a million times and I know how close to the end it is.  When I hit the bike path I was on track for a 3:55 marathon but I was starting to struggle.  I just wanted to be done.  While I didn't have any major aches or pains my body was tired and my mind was playing tricks on me.  I was having a hard time shutting up the voice in my head telling me to slow down or just take a rest. Thankfully, I saw my friend Tami running down the path towards me.  She wasn't running this race but she came out to support all the Strong Running Mama's that were running the half and the full.  I waved her down and told her to talk to me, tell me anything to keep my mind off of this.  She started filling me in on how the half-marathoners did and kept telling me to stick with it.  I am sure I was not pleasant company for her but she was awesome and just kept talking.  About 3 miles from the finish we saw Joe and Mia on the bike.  Joe asked me if I needed anything and told me to hang in there.  Mia was sound asleep on the back of the bike, at that point I wished I could trade places with her!  He cruised along a little behind and let Tami and I keep running together.  It was nice just knowing he was nearby. 

As we got closer and closer to the finish, Tami kept reminding me that I was going to accomplish my goal.  It seemed like the those last few miles were longer than the first 22!  But eventually we got to the boat launch and the finish line was right around the bend.  Tami told me to go for it and when we could see the clock she told me to look at it (it still had a 3 on it). Somehow I picked up the pace and ran towards it.  I heard someone cheering for me and saw my Aunt Pammy and Aunt Jeanne cheering me in and I did it! I finished! They had a computer screen in the finisher area that told you your official time and when I saw 3:58:40 I was so happy.  As I came out of the finisher area, I saw Tami again and she helped me make my way to food area.  This part is a blur but I think I probably hugged Tami a million times,  I was so grateful for her support those last few miles.  My family found me and we somehow found Jenny and her family. 

While I am so proud of this race, it was bittersweet.  Jenny missed her goal by 50 seconds.  She had worked so hard and for some reason it wasn't her day.  On one hand I was so happy for myself but I felt bad about her missing her goal.  I am so proud of her, she is an amazing runner and will get that BQ!

Afterwards my aunts took Mia to the playground near the finish line while Joe and I watched more runners finish.  I was wiped out but on a crazy runner's high that still has not gone away.  I am pretty sore today and taking a few days of rest but I am already thinking about what's next...Tami half jokingly/half seriously reminded me as we were running that we are going to do an ultra next year (50K), and I can honestly say I am seriously considering it.  I am also thinking about what it would take training-wise to get into BQ shape.  My current BQ time is 3:35, in 2014 when I turn 35 it will go up to 3:40.  Do I have those kind of times in me? I'm not sure but it's fun to think about.

For more immediate plans, Joe and I have a trip to Hawaii scheduled in 3 weeks.  I'm looking forward to enjoying some time away and relaxing.