From Coast to Coast

2 weekends ago I was in San Francisco to run the Nike Women’s Marathon.  This coming weekend I will be in New York City for the NYC Marathon.  Unfortunately, I won’t actually be running the marathon (although I wish I was!).  My hubby won a contest from Dove Men+Care and he gets to run the marathon AND meet John McEnroe!  Luckily, I get to tag along for the fun weekend.  Here is an article about the contest and the 6 men that were chosen.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may recall that I was supposed to run the NYC Marathon last year.  It was a huge dream of mine and I was fortunate to have gotten into the race.  However, once Hurricane Sandy hit, everything was up in the air.  We did end up traveling to New York because at that point we were told the race was still going to take place and our travel arrangements were non-refundable.  However, minutes after we landed, while we were still at the airport, we received word that the race had been cancelled.  Since we were already in the city, we decided to make the most of the trip and we ended up having a different, but great vacation.

Hubs and I on the Brooklyn Bridge

Rick and I on the Brooklyn Bridge

The family at the finish line after I ran my own 26.2 mile marathon around New York.

The family at the finish line after I ran my own 26.2 mile marathon around New York.

I feel really blessed to be given the opportunity to travel to New York again.  The city holds a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to get back there and run through Central Park.  While, I’m still secretly hoping for a bib to get to run on race day, I’ll be excited just to be there amidst all the energy and will be happy to cheer everyone on.  I’m also thrilled to get to cheer my Ironman husband on as he will be completing his first stand alone marathon (he ran a marathon 5 months ago, but that was after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112!).

Anyone else running the marathon this weekend?  Ever been to NYC?

If you want some updates from NY this weekend, like Miles and Trials on Facebook or follow on me Twitter.

Nike Women’s Marathon Race Recap

I’m back from an amazing weekend in San Francisco.  We had a blast exploring the city, eating great food, and running one of my most fun races ever.

On Friday I flew into San Francisco with my hubby and friend, Sherri, and her hubby.  After we landed, we went to the race expo to get our packets and do some shopping.  This expo was different that any other race expo I’ve been to, I felt like I was at a night club with loud music and crazy lighting.  It was fun, but not your typical race expo.

Sherri and I channeling our inner Nike models

Sherri and I channeling our inner Nike models

Saturday morning most of our crew from Albuquerque had made it into town and we met up for a gorgeous shake out run near the Golden Gate Bridge.  I could get used to running with a view like this every day!

pre race rungroup

Sunday was the usual race day early morning wake up call.  Our husbands dropped Sherri and me off very close to the starting line (it was nice not to have to deal with race day parking or transportation).  Our plan was to walk toward the start and then get into a porta potty line, but we saw a hotel lobby with tons of runners inside, so we went in there to get a little warmth and ended up using the restrooms in the hotel.  What a treat to get to use a real bathroom on race morning!  We stayed inside the hotel until about 15 minutes before the start of the race and then ventured out into the cool morning and found our corral to line up in.  I had heard the starting line and corral process at this race was not very organized, but it went smoothly for us entering our corral.  In fact we were able to move close to the starting line within our corral and it only took us a little over a minute to cross the line when the race started.  It took some of our friends closer to 45 minutes to cross the starting line from one of the corrals towards the back!

Minutes before the start of the race (the starting line is by the bright light behind us)

Minutes before the start of the race (the starting line is by the bright light behind us)

The race started right on time (yay, Nike, I love when races start on time!), and we were on our way running through the streets of downtown San Francisco in the dark.  Within 2 miles we hit the street that runs along the water by Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.  It was still dark out so we didn’t see much during this part, then around mile 5 we were running where we had done our shake out run on Saturday so it was a familiar area, only it looked completely different since the sun wasn’t out and the fog was so thick we never even saw a sliver of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The hills started at mile 6, with about a mile long climb.  Then some rolling downhill.  Sherri and I decided to do a run/walk strategy for this race to fully enjoy the race and not stress about hitting a certain time.  So we walked for about a minute every mile, making sure to move to the right and get out of other runner’s way before taking our walk breaks (apparently not many people know how to walk during a race, I saw many women just stop instantly in the middle of the road to walk and almost witnessed some collisions from this).  Before I knew it we were in Golden Gate Park and the half marathoners were turning off to run the last few miles to their finish and the marathoners began the rest of their journey.  This race has mostly half marathoners, with a much smaller portion running the marathon, so when we parted ways the course became much less crowded and even a little quiet and lonely!

split

Around mile 11, half marathoners turned right toward the finish line and marathoners continued straight through more of the park

This began the long tedious stretch of the race.  The park was beautiful to run through, but there weren’t many spectators during this section.

Miles 12 in Golden Gate Park

Miles 12 in Golden Gate Park

At mile 16 we came out of the park, had to pass the finish line where all the half marathoners were celebrating, and took off along the ocean front for the remaining 10 miles that was an out and back portion of the course.  Did I wish I was running the half and finishing the race when we had to run past the finish line?  Not really, there is something about the marathon that I am in love with.  I just simply love the distance and would prefer to run it over anything else (most days!).

The out and back portion was nice, although miles 16-20 are challenging in any marathon.  The course ran along the ocean, we could hear the waves crashing, but we only saw the water a few times when the fog would briefly part.  While we missed out on some great views due to the fog, I didn’t mind it because it kept the weather cool.  This is the first race I have ever done where I did not feel hot and overheated the last few miles.  This was the perfect running weather to me!

The ocean was right behind these clouds, so close we could hear the waves!

The ocean was right behind these clouds, so close we could hear the waves!

The last few miles were great, I felt awesome thanks to running a nice easier pace than I am used to in marathons and the walking breaks were welcome relief to my legs.

The red carpet finish line!

The red carpet finish line!

Our time was 4:11:52.  Sure, it was my 3rd slowest marathon out of the 9 I have done, but I am learning that the time on a clock is not always what is important.  I went into this race with the goal of simply having fun and enjoying the day.  I feel immensely blessed that I was able to meet that goal and feel good while running 26.2 miles!  Mission accomplished!

tiffanyA unique thing about the Nike Women’s Marathon is that instead of a medal at the end of the race, they give you a Tiffany’s necklace.  I am not big into race medals (all except my 2013 Boston medal are up in a box on a shelf in my closet), but a Tiffany’s necklace?  I can get into that.

shirt

 

5 Weeks, 2 Marathons, 1 Cast

I know it seems like it has been forever (to me at least) since I broke my hand and have been in a cast.  Fortunately, everything is healing and I am scheduled to get the cast off in a week and a half.  BUT before then, I have one more marathon to run!

nike marathonI am heading to San Francisco this weekend to run the Nike Women’s Marathon.  Over the summer a friend told me she was getting a group together to put into the lottery to run this race.  At the time I knew I was running the Big Cottonwood Marathon in September and that Nike was only 5 weeks later, but I thought the odds of getting into the race were slim since so many women want to run it.  I have heard of people trying to get in for years that have never been selected.  So, since I can rarely turn down an invitation to go run a race, I threw my name in.  And the rest is history, our team of 9 women will be headed to San Fran this weekend with our spouses for some fun, good food, lots of hills, gorgeous views, and a bit of running.  I’ll be running the full marathon with my friend, Sherri, and the other 7 beautiful ladies will be getting their Tiffany necklaces after completing the half marathon.

Some of the lovely ladies I'll be running the streets of SF with

Some of the lovely ladies I’ll be running the streets of SF with

I am looking forward to enjoying this race and embracing running just for fun.  I know it is a tough course with many hills, and I didn’t want any pressure of trying to hit a certain time, so I can’t wait to experience this race just for the joy of being out there!

Have you ever been to San Francisco?  Any tips on must do things or must eat places? 

 

We all face trials in life

When I was going through the multitude of tests that eventually led to my diagnosis of MS, God kept bringing back to this verse:

James 1

You don’t have to have MS, cancer, or any other type of disease to face trials in your life. I’m pretty sure that if you live long enough you will most certainly face some type of trial. Sometimes when I am struggling, this verse pops into my head and I just have to smile.  Only with God can I turn these trials into joy by knowing my faith is producing steadfastness and perseverance.

A reader recently contacted me and asked if I would share a video with you.  Cameron’s wife, Heather, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer called Mesothelioma just 3 months after the birth of their only child.  She was given 15 months to live, but has defied all odds and eventually beat this cancer.  Yay, Heather!  Here is a link to her short video about hope and survival.  I love her message to not give up, and she clearly didn’t.  Talk about facing a trial and persevering…we can all learn something from that!

On to another type of cancer.  For those of you that haven’t heard, October is breast cancer awareness month.  I went this week for my annual mammogram.  (Just typing that makes me feel old.)  Mammograms are recommended every 1 to 2 years for women over 40, or sooner if you have a strong family history of breast cancer.  My grandmother passed away from breast cancer that spread to bone cancer when I was a toddler, and while that doesn’t necessarily up my odds of cancer, it is still a scary thing to think about.  I have heard of 3 women close to my age that have all been recently diagnosed, so if you are over 40 and haven’t gotten a mammogram yet, get to it!

BreastCancerSurvivors

Big Cottonwood Marathon Race Recap

I finally decided to sit down and write a recap of the Big Cottonwood Marathon that I ran on September 14th.  As I mentioned here, my time was 3:46:23. Let’s forget about those darn 83 seconds for a bit, because the fact is that I run for the enjoyment of running and for what it does for me mentally and physically.  Sure I have goals of running a PR and hitting a Boston qualifying time every marathon I run, but at the end of the day I run because I love it.  This marathon was no different, I loved every mile of it from beautiful to tough to walking to forcing myself to run when my mind and body had nothing left.  I still loved it.  I may not have loved ending up in the medical tent afterward, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.  Onto the race recap:

I flew in to Salt Lake City with 3 runner friends on Friday afternoon.  We hit the expo, checked into the hotel and went for our pre race carb loading at a local Italian restaurant.  Once we got back to the hotel everyone began getting their gear and clothes ready for the next morning.  The 3:30 alarm came entirely to soon, although I wasn’t even sleeping when the alarm went off, so might as well have gotten up to get the day started.  We drove to the bus pick up area, waited a few minutes, then hopped on the bus that would take us to the starting line up the mountain.

About 30 minutes and many winding roads later the bus stopped, only we were not at the starting line, we still had a few miles to go.  There was some confusion at first, then we heard on the bus radio that another bus in front of us had gotten stuck on one of the tight switchback sections of the road and was blocking the road for the rest of the busses to get by.  Well, runners are a resourceful bunch, so it didn’t take long until hundreds of us on the blocked busses started walking up the mountain road.  We passed the bus that had gotten high-centered, walked about a half mile more and then busses from the starting line came down and shuttled us the remaining 3 miles to all the other runners waiting for us to start the race.

Bus drop off at top of mountain

Bus drop off at top of mountain

Due to the fiasco of getting to the starting line, the race started about 30 minutes late.  I hate when races start late (especially when I am so sensitive to heat and that extra 30 minutes at the end of this race did me in), however, I know this was beyond the control of the race director and I honestly felt really bad for the stress the director must have been under trying to get everyone to the start of the race.

Starting line in the distance

Starting line in the distance

The first 17 miles we ran down the mountain that we had just driven and hiked up.  It was gorgeous looking at the scenery and the weather was perfect, cool with a little cloud coverage.  This part of the course included quite a bit of downhill and parts were very steep.  I love running downhill, and while my legs were feeling it a bit, I was able to keep a great pace with minimal effort.

Flying down the mountain, so fun!

Flying down the mountain, so fun!

Then we came out of the canyon and into town.  The downhill ended for the most part and the course flattened out, and even threw us some hills, which are never fun near the end of a race,  I’m sure they weren’t that steep, but after 20 miles any incline feels steep to me and many people began walking and having to stop to stretch out cramping legs.  By mile 21 I had slowed down and the sun was in full force, heating me up a bit too much, but I calculated my time and could run 10 minute miles the rest of the way and still come in well under by BQ time of 3:45.  I got slightly excited, because when can’t I run just 5 silly miles at a 10 minute pace?!  Apparently I can’t at the end of a marathon when I’m overheating!

A few miles before the demise began

A few miles before the demise began

The suffer-fest started around mile 22, I finally gave in and had to start walking (shuffling) and tried to pick up to a jog every minute or 2.  At this point in the race it seemed like more people were walking than running, which is never a good sign!  Miles 23 and 24 were my slowest at about 11:30 per mile, killing my chance of that 3:45 time.  I knew this at the time, and was not happy, but somehow forced myself to run the entire last 1.2 miles into the finish line.

In the finishers chute, gutting out the last little bit

In the finishers chute, gutting out the last little bit

Amazing that I'm actually smiling!

So happy to be finished!

I have never worked or pushed my body and mind so hard in a race before to will myself to not walk.  I was shuffling very slowly, but felt a tiny bit of satisfaction running that last part.  Once I crossed the finish line and stopped moving, I instantly got lightheaded and hobbled immediately to the medical tent.  The tent was packed, and I saw an empty chair next to the tent and sat down.  I asked another runner nearby to get me some water and a bag of ice and he kindly did and even brought me a popsicle and chocolate milk.  I tried the milk and it did not go down, neither did the popsicle, eventhough it sounded good.  I stuck the ice bag on my head and neck to try to cool down, and drank some water, but started feeling worse.  By then one of my friends that had already finished (and took first in her age group!), found me and got me into the medical tent.  It was so crowded they didn’t have a cot available, but I knew if I didn’t lie down soon there was going to be a problem, so my friend found a gurney, asked if we could use it, wheeled it over and helped me to finally lie down.  Soon I was getting medical assistance and got an IV hooked up which helped me start feeling better.

Eventually I was able to get up without passing out and we made our way to the car and back to the hotel.  The rest of the trip involved great food, great time with friends, and lots of post marathon hobbling the next day through the airport.  It was an amazing weekend, and I am so grateful that God allows me these opportunities to run and be surrounded by supportive, uplifting friends that stick by my side, even in the medical tent! blessed