Archive for November, 2011

Thank You, Rain

I’m usually not a big fan of rain, unless it happens to arrive late at night in the middle of August and with some thunder and lightning in tow. I love summertime thunderstorms.

Rain can also be nice if it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and you’re only goal for the day was to curl up on the couch and watch reruns of 90210 and Gilmore Girls (unfortunately, that has not been a viable plan on my schedule for about five years).

But for the most part, rain stinks. Because it usually doesn’t restrict its visits to summer nights and once-in-a-while-lazy-Saturday afternoons. Instead, it opts to come on the ONE day of the week I decide on my favorite Toms as my commuter shoes (while Toms are awesome because they ship shoes to places where they are very much needed, they don’t hold up too well in rain…seeing as they are made of canvas), or completely forget to check the weather and leave the house with no umbrella or any other device to protect myself from the wetness or pick the reservoir for my morning run–and I can tell you for a neat freak, it’s not nearly as fun to run circles in the mud vs. a pretty dirt path.

Except this morning, it was. Because of some WELCOME rain that hit yesterday. Of course I had a thin jacket and no umbrella and was considerably miserable on my commute home from work, but I think those showers served a similar purpose to my favorite summertime storms–they broke the heat wave. It’s not actually COLD out yet, but there’s definitely more of a chill in the air.

I know that doesn’t sound like something this sweat-loving, sun-basking marathonwiner might be happy about, but Thanksgiving has come and gone…which means the holiday season is here. And to fully immerse myself in all things warm and happy and mushy and lovey and really BE in the Christmas spirit, I need the weather outside to feel more like snow and less like south beach.

And this morning (while jumping puddles and dodging pedestrians) along the reservoir and bridle path, the temps felt far closer to Christmas than the 4th of July, but there was still plenty of sunshine. I was quite happy.

if anyone needs something to pull them out of the post-marathon blues...i'm pretty sure a little dose of this will do the trick

I did my usual 6.15 loop of the two dirt paths (which were really a mix of dirt and mud today), and while I thought about biting the bullet and going a little longer after yesterday’s very whiny post about not running far enough or fast enough, I decided to cut myself some slack. Aside from a few times on the reservoir where I literally had to slow to a walk to avoid stomping into a 6-inch-deep puddle or pushing a walker into one (I’m going to start petitioning the city of New York to make the reservoir closed to pedestrians on rainy days and the day immediately after a good sloshing), I kept up a pretty good pace. And if all goes well tomorrow, I’ll try to tack on an extra mile or two and slowly build my way up to 10 on Saturday–when I hit up the east side with Katherine, Ashley and Kristine.

The break in temps was definitely what I needed to help get a little more amped up for the holidays, and between seeing this on the way to work this morning:

hello pretty christmas trees, one of you WILL be in my apt before the week is up. i dont care if youre bigger than my fridge, i will make you fit and i will make you beautiful.

And the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza tonight, I am Pumped. Yep-with a capital P.

Now if only I can figure out how to listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album on Pandora without using my broken headphones and without disturbing the entire office…
Have a very happy Wednesday kids!
-What gets YOU in the holiday spirit?
- How long after a marathon until you felt…well, normal?

Do you think you’ll do another?

That’s almost always the first question people ask after I force them to listen to tell them the details of my first-ever marathon experience that they are so very eager to hear.

After my first half-marathon last November, the question was “do you think you’ll ever do a full?” And I immediately scoffed and said “pshh, no way.”

Before even crossing the finish line in Richmond, I had done the legwork (I’m so punny) necessary to get automatic entry into the ING NYC Marathon 2012. I told everyone that barring any disaster on the streets of Richmond, I was most certainly going to run another 26.2. In fact, after Richmond was over and I had blocked out all of the very painful and miserable memories that were miles 20-26, I even tried to convince myself that it was phyisically possible to do both NY and Richmond next year…even though the two races are a mere week apart. I was riding the high and finally understood why so few people ever run “just one” marathon.

But now I find myself, nearly 2.5 weeks post-race and not running too much. I know, I know…26.2 is a lot on your body and many people take off for weeks or months at a time for recovery. But the thing is, I don’t WANT to take off. I don’t enjoy NOT running. And it’s not even that I haven’t been running, because I have. I’ve done lots of loops around the bridle and reservoir since coming back to the city, and did lots of loops in my parents neighborhood while home for turkey day. But I’m not running as far and I’m not running as often and it buggggs me. I was walking to the subway this morning and actually became angry at myself that I had let yet another freakishly warm November morning pass in NYC without lacing up the sneaks. Granted, I know I couldn’t have run yesterday morning…seeing as how I didn’t get back into the city until 3 a.m. But that’s the crazy part. I still was annoyed–not sure if it was more with the situation or myself–for not having the time to run yesterday and for opting to catch up on sleep today.

And that whole plan to up my fitness in areas outside of running while I wait for my National Half marathon training to begin? Laughable. Thanks to the new office hours and a midtown location, every time I make the grand gesture to sign up for a spin class or other group fitness activity, I’m denied (in fairness, I still GO to the gym. But you can bet your butt I don’t work myself on an ellip nearly as hard as a badass instructor would run me on a bike). The running gods are just telling me to forgo the stationary bike and get back on the streets. I want another training plan. I want another marathon. And I want it now.

Then again, I don’t.

Because I’m pretty sure that I’ll never beat the time that was on the clock as I crossed the finish line on Nov. 12:

see that? that wasn't even the official time, but you knew that, because i don't shut up about my shock over it. but this was some strange fluke, and i could run 48932043 marathons and probably never touch this.

This post sounds whiny and lamenting. And maybe it is (though it should be noted that I’m actually still happy and smiling and in a decent mood while writing it, so it can’t be THAT whiny…).

It’s also all over the place. Which I also, currently am. One day I’m totally happy only running 4 miles or skipping a run completely and taking it easy. The next I’m shinkicking myself (painful, though probably funny to watch) for not putting on my sneaks and getting out of bed earlier.

The bottom line was this: running DOES make you crazy, marathons ARE addicting and I’m likely going to be a hot mess from now til Christmas day, when I finally get back on a training plan. Enjoy!




Planes, Trains and Automobiles

That title can be added to the disturbingly long list of “classic” movies* that I’ve never seen…unless of course, you count clips from Scene It. I love board games and I’m not afraid to say so. My family loves them to, but more on that in a hot sec.

*List also includes: any Rocky movies, any Godfather movies (though I did just read the book and for the first time in my life have a desire to see them), Goodfellas, Animal House, Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, Top Gun, Caddyshack and pretty much any other movie that is probably your favorite.

Any who. The title is more attributed to my traveling home to Richmond for Thanksgiving. In the past, I was a quick 2-hour trip away from my parents house and was lucky enough to work somewhere that loved remote employees. So getting time off to head home for the holidays was very easy and also very plenty.

Due to a new job in NY and the JD’s vicious schedule, our turkey day trip was planned at the very last minute, and when we last left off, I was dreading my first-ever Chinatown bus ride from New York to Virginia. The actual bus and ride were not so bad, but the waiting to board the bus–in the freezing cold rain, on the streets of Chinatown where no one who worked for the bus company spoke English or really seemed to care where your ticket said you were destined, as long as you were wedged on to a bus–was a little nerve-wracking.

In the end though, everything worked out and the JD and I pulled into my parents driveway a little after midnight on the eve of my favorite holiday (no, the bus did not deliver us there, dear old dad was waiting at the bus station…which was a sidewalk outside a 711 in downtown Richmond. Which happened to be near Monument Ave. Where, as we drove along it, I not-so-subtly rehashed an entire three-mile stretch of my marathon to pops and the JD).

Even though we got in at a late hour and didn’t get much sleep, I managed to drag my butt outta bed on Thursday morning for a quick jog…afterall, I had a parade to watch. After four easy miles around my parents hood, I showered, filled a giant mug of coffee, grabbed my pumpkin bread and settled into the couch for the next four hours. Most exciting part of the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? The clip from Newsies. Holy cow, can’t wait for that show to get started on Broadway.

The rest of the day, and pretty much weekend, involved all 20 or so of us hanging out around my parents house eating lots of delicious food, playing lots of nerdy board games and sipping on wonderful red wine.

I managed to get out of the house on Friday and Sunday as well, but not for more than four miles each time. As noted many times in the past, my parents sidewalkless and relatively small (as in, go more than a mile or so in either direction and you’re hitting roads with high traffic) neighborhood make for very boring, looping runs, of which I can’t tolerate for much more than four miles. Would I have liked to get more road underfoot? Yes. Should I have? Yes. Am I that upset that I didn’t? No.

Because every extra half mile of running would have meant an extra few minutes of not catching up with family. We have a huge crowd at Thanksgiving–people come from all over New York and Arkansas and now even Chicago and Milwaukee. It’s rare that you get aunts and uncles from Long Island in the same room as your grandparents from Richmond and cousins from little ‘ol Fort Smith all in one room, so I like to take advantage of it to a tee.

We followed all of our usual traditions–two turkeys (some insist on cooking it old school, others argue deep-fried is the way to go. our compromise? more food), mini-cheesecakes and lots of Catchphrase and Pictionary on Thanksgiving day, Black Friday bowling competition (the one time a year I ever get to go bowling…and my score lets you know that), my nieces birthday party (I am at work today with a Hello Kitty tattoo that REFUSES to leave my arm), helping my grandmother get her Christmas tree up and an afternoon spent on the lovely James River at Richmond’s very own, Legend Brewing Co. If you’re wondering if I made my aunt, cousin and the JD drive the long way out of the city JUST so I could say “see this bridge we’re on? I ran over this bridge at mile 17 on Race Day. anything else you want to hear about the marathon? no? okay, and that’s where the starting line was, and that’s where I made a porta potty stop just before the gun went off…” You get the idea. I wasn’t annoying at all.

After spending a ridiculously warm Sunday afternoon (I love warm weather, but 80 degrees when you’re supposed to be putting up Christmas decor is kind of hard to swallow) walking around Carytown and picking up some stocking stuffers, the JD and I then headed to the train station to head back to the Big Apple. We opted for the train for the ride home using the logic “well, it’s a heavy travel day and this way we don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.” Silly us and our silly logic.

The train was about 1.5 hours off schedule and we walked in the door at 3 a.m. this morning. I’m a zombie right now and that’s why it took me until 2:00 to start thinking about this post. I apologize for the delay, but please take it up with Amtrak Customer Service.

And what’s that about planes in the name of today’s blog? Well, even though the Chinatown bus got us to Richmond in one piece, it still took us well over an hour to get out of the city. And well over an hour to leave Richmond by train. So I learned a little lesson and immediately booked my plane ticket home for Christmas. Done and done.

In the meantime, I’ve got some serious gym trips to make (hoping I can stay awake to get there tonight), runs to do, and a wee little trip to Dominican Republic to keep me busy til the next trip home :)

Hope everyone had a very very happy Thanksgiving that included some turkey trotting, pumpkin pie eating and lots of QT with fam and friends!

And the winner is…

New York City!

….for being the best at hosting huge and amazing events in small cramped spaces [read: the streets of Manhattan].

(If you got all excited thinking that was a drumroll of the Chobani giveaway…well, you were partially right. Because that’s announced at the very end of this post. But be kind and read your way through, rather than scroll to the end, eh?)

This morning I wanted to stick to a shorter run–I went to bed far too late last night, but not because I was up packing for Richmond. I was at Lionshead Tavern bringing my super-nice neighborhood friend up to speed on what keys would get her into the apartment this weekend and what weird tics my cat has, as she was kind enough to promise to check in on the little monster. So this morning, to avoid the temptation of a longer run (that Central Park so often offers) and also to avoid the reservoir, which I imagine was a field of puddles and wet uncomfortableness.

So I took to the streets of this fineee city, and even though it was a little miserable weather-wise, I had a great run.

Just like seeing the stands set up in Central Park in the days leading up to the marathon made me giddy like an 8-year-old on Christmas eve, the risers being erected for tomorrow’s parade had a similar effect. Because like an 8-year-old, I religiously watch every second of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I get pumped reading about new floats to take to the skies and anxiously await the arrival of old favorites. And I call every single one of the 20-something people in my house on Thanksgiving morning to watch the arrival of Santa Claus.

Yes, I realize I’m a nerd.

I may never actually BE in New York City for the parade (because if I have things my way, our Thanksgiving traditions in Richmond will continue until it’s no longer a holiday or I’m no longer around), so it was nice to at least be here the day before, and feel the excitement in the air as the ground crews worked–with Christmas music blasting, no less.

Disappointing that I ran the parade route this morning, rather than later today when the actual inflation begins? A wee bit.

sorry i can't see you rise outta the streets later today kermit. instead, i'll be waiting in line to board a chinatown bus. awesome!

But seeing the bleachers packed onto the sidewalks like sardines and being forced to run on the bike path gave what would have been a pretty dreary morning a little bit of flair. And NYC and the tons of people who work on huge events like the parade and the marathon deserve a giant pat on the back for makin’ the magic happen. It’s pretty impressive to see the behind the scenes and realize how much manpower goes into productions of this scale.

Now rather than hear me continue to gush about the parade and count down the hours until I’m home with my favorite people in the world…I shall let you see which of you lucky readers is getting a free box of Chobani delivered to their door.

[Drumroll, please....]


Yay Krissy! Congrats! Please shoot me an email or DM on Twitter with your mailing address and what sort of assortment of yogurt you’d like. You get your choice of 12 flavors, all of your choosing!

We all know what Krissy is thankful this holiday…how about the rest of you?? What are YOUUUU thankful for this Thanksgiving and all year round?

Now What?

Runner’s World sent an e-blast this morning that essentially mirrored one of my post-marathon write-ups regarding PMD, and essentially every other thought that’s crossed my mind since Nov.12th:

i've asked myself that question every day for the last 10 days. holy crap. it's been 10 days??

Apparently I’m not the only one who equates race-day excitement to Christmas morning. And post-race depression to the after-holiday haze.

And my being one of those people is the reason it’s taken me until 11:30 to get myself writing a post for today.

I spent a good hour or so covering the dirt paths of a quiet and overcast Central Park this morning, racking my brain for ideas of something to write about once I finished.

I didn’t do anything cool and NY-ish last night. I had a late night at work, plugged away for a bit on the elliptical and went home to have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Not exciting at all.

I wanted to try a spin class as part of my plan to “use this month of downtime to train in fitness areas outside of running.” Spin class was filled. Fail.

I banged out 6-ish miles on my favorite running route this morning. Big deal. I’ve done that a few times in the last two weeks. It wasn’t part of a marathon training plan so I can’t even mention Hal’s name when rehashing it to you. And you’re probably bored by the rehashing.  You probably don’t care or need to know that I was way overdressed for the warm weather this morning or that my glutes are still a little tight from The Marathon but overall, I felt comfortable, and good. And like my legs are getting back to normal and I really, realllly want to hit a distance higher than 6 in the near future.

So last week PMD left little hints that he was planning on making an appearance in my life in the near future. I acknowledged those hints for about 5 seconds, then pushed them aside and started gushing about my marathon again. If you want to see another picture of my medal, I’m happy to show you. Or perhaps you’d rather take a peek at my sweet marathon-worthy tshirt:

this shirt won me two awesome friends on Race Day. their names are larry and tracey. you knew that because i talked about them 24/7 last week and still hope they will stumble upon this blog some day and say hi to me.

But this week, despite my trying to convince him not to come–my NYC apartment is way too tiny, and my life is too busy since I finally have a real job and the holidays approaching–PMD moved in anyway. The jerk.

Luckily I’m only one more boring run around the reservoir (please note that my whining about my “monotonous” runs these days have nothing to do with how I feel on them or the route–I love them, just hate boring you), half a workday, and one very long and potentially frightening Chinatown bus away from the greatest holiday of all time with the most fun fam in the world:

raise your hand if YOUR thanksgiving includes props?

there are no words. but everyone’s welcome. so if youre interested in having the best turkey day of your life, let me know and book a chinatown bus ticket.

I’m 100% positive that this weekend will convince PMD that I don’t need him in my life. I have plenty of other things to make me happy. Like the people you see above, and many, many more. Not to mention…the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, pumpkin bread, delicious food, board games and of course, wine.

I plan to come back happy, refreshed and miles away from that nasty PMD. And I plan to come back with a gameplan on how I’ll tackle this next month of non-running focused fitness, but also a gameplan on how to get back up to 8 miles, and 10 miles and more. Not just for me, but for you reading about my recaps on it.  
In the meantime, for putting up with me and my PMD-afflicted self, you get the chance to win free delciousness. Friday’s giveaway is still on, and readers can continue to enter until it closes tonight. A winner will be announced in the morning!
Have a very happy Tuesssssday kids! I may not, thanks to the unwanted guest I’ve got, but I still certainly hope you do!!

On a Monday I am waiting

Tuesday I am fading and by Wednesday I can’t sleep….

Little Ashlee Simpson to start your morning! Because I think she’s an amazing singer and I love every one of her songs? No. Because I belted out this particular song during karaoke at the Grisly Pear on Saturday night and now it’s stuck in my head? Maybe….

But let’s back up a bit :)

Friday night after my first  work happy hour at the new job, the JD and I met my friend off a bus from Baltimore. A new megabus stop left her at Port Authority, right near where we already were, so we grabbed a drink then headed back to the UWS for a low-key night of catch-up.

Since this is the friend whom I credit for helping me become a runaddict, I knew she’d have her sneakers packed, and on Saturday morning we laced up so I could introduce her to the reservoir. I’m pretty sure there’s a big chunk of non-New Yorkers who have hit up Central Park during one visit or another, but don’t know much about Jackie’s beautiful dirt path because it’s so far north. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall morning and perfect for an easy run with an old friend. It was soooo strange passing runners from the NYRR Knickerboxer 60K (holy crap, 60k!!) and thinking how only a week before I had been one of those crazy distance runners, up on a Saturday morning running for hours and hours just for the fun of it. And it also made me a little sad. Good thing training starts for the National Half (which same visiting friend is also running) in just a few weeks.

And while our jog may have been a weee bit shorter than a 60k, we still kept the mileage up by spending the rest of Saturday walking all over the city. We hit up the holiday market at Union Square, checked out the dressed up windows and Lord & Taylor and eventually made our way up to Bryant Park for some more seasonal shopping. The JD met us there and we ended the day by introducing our guest to the gloriousness that is Wafels and Dinges, coupled with a hot toddie from the Southwest Porch. If you haven’t been it’s a small outdoor restaurant/bar in the SW corner of the park. There’s lots of comfy chairs and swings and best of all…heat lamps at every seat.

We met up with yet another college friend who was in the city and segued into Saturday night in the west village…where somehow or another, we wound up at the Grisly Pear, signed up for karaoke. I’d only done karaoke one other time in my life–after which I had sworn I’d never do it again–but this west village watering hole turned out to be a pretty good venue for the spot. The mic and stage (if you can call it a stage) were set up in the back room of the bar where lots of tables and chairs were set up. Most people were there with a group, and if one of their own wasn’t on stage, you didn’t have to worry about capturing their attention too much. We paired up girls vs. guys and had a blast belting out the words to silly pop songs like the aforementioned Ashlee number and Miley Cyrus’s Party in the U.S.A. It was an amazingly fun night, and a much-needed let-loose after all that serious marathon training :)

Sunday we took the crew to the neighborhood jaunt we take everyone–Tom’s. You may know it better as, “The Seinfeld Restaurant.” And the rest of the day was dedicated once again to traipsing all over the city. I played tour guide and pointed out all of my favorite running routes (Riverside Park and the rest of Central Park), we made a quick trip down to the new World Trade Center site and came back through Times Square, because what visitor doesn’t want to make a pit stop there?

After my friend caught the bus back to Baltimore, I still had some fun lined up. Thanks to the new job, there were two tickets waiting at the box office at Playwright Horizons, for me and a friend to see Maple and Vine. I grabbed dinner and drinks with my aunt at Reunion Surf Bar (SUCH a fun place) and the two of us headed down the street to catch the show, which is still in previews this week. It had a lot of zingy one-liners and was an overall clever and enjoyable story, but we weren’t happy with the ending. I won’t go into details why just in case you plan to see it :)

Now it’s time to settle in to this oh-so-short work week…I can’t believeeeee Thanksgiving is just days away!

Hope you have a very happy Monday!

And if you want to be made even happppier, enter to win Friday’s giveaway. What’s better than free deliciousness arriving at your door?

Happy Giveaway Day!

Happy Friday kids! And happy first-ever marathonwiner Giveaway day! More on that to come in a hot sec…but don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging on too long, as the work day has already begun and I’ve got to get a move on things so I can get out of here at 6 on the dot, and welcome my very good friend–you know, the one I credit for getting me into running to begin with–to NYC!

After a quasi-productive trip to the gym last night–I say quasi because I’m still just easing my way back in via my old “CT” moves on the ellip, and not really challenging myself, as I kind of want to do during this downtime before half marathon training sets in–my legs felt far happier than they have in all of the preceding post-race days.

So this morning, I headed back over to the park for a loop of the bridle path and reservoir. It was a little chilly at the start, but not nearly as bad as I expected. And thanks to my lovely new NYC marathon expo gloves and Lululemon jacket (snagged on sale last year), I was actually TOO warm by the end, and never once felt hypothermia settling into my nose or toes. It was just the perfect return to my favorite little run–right temps, right amount of sunshine, right distance and the bright yellows and reds on the trees surrounding the reservoir was just the right touch! But those vibrant fall colors mixed with the nip in the air reminded me that HOLY CRAP, November is almost over. How did that happen?

It’s so weird to me that this time one year ago, I was a belly full of nerves getting ready for my first half marathon. And this time on week ago, I was a bigger belly full of nervier nerves getting ready for my first marathon. Actually that’s not entirely true…my porta potty stops prove that I may have been somehow a bit more mentally prepared for the latter….

And this time one week from now I’ll be home the most hilariously fun family in the world celebrating the greatest and bestest holiday in existence. This Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving, I am enormously thankful for my family:

dear peacemaking pilgrims and indians, I owe so much of my happiness to you.

These are the thoughts I had on my mind for this mornings run. It’s a wonderful way to start the day. Glutes and hammies are still a little tight, but I credit that to my being very, very undisciplined when it comes to stretching. Something I REALLY need to nail down if I plan on keep up with this whole running thing…

Aside from those muscles being a little unwilling to unwind, I actually feel like my legs and body were FAR more weary in the days leading up to the marathon, which is a little strange to me. Has that happened to anyone else?

Anywho. I’ll keep this post short for you because like I said, have a fun NYC weekend that I must plan, in and around my workday. Woohoo for visitors!

And to make up for the time I’m NOT typing…and to reward you for putting up with all of my marathon talk this week…it’s time for the first-ever MARATHONWINER GIVEAWAY!

Hosted by the very nice people at Chobani yogurt. No really–they are the nicest. If you don’t believe me, read this.

Chobani essentially saved me from myself during marathon training, because during the peak of the peak, I was logging LOTS of miles on my feet–both in Central Park and at the restaurant I worked out. There were also late nights with long stretches of nothing to eat other than burgers and fries…or whatever I brought with me. To try to curb my training induced ravenous appetite and avoid piles of greasy french fries for dinner at 8:00 p.m., I brought Chobani to work. Basssically every single day. It was yummy. It was healthy. And most importantly, it held me over so I wouldn’t chow down on complete crap the night before a long run.

I know some people have their issues with yogurt. But even my cousin, whose food groups consist of plain chicken, plain burgers and plain pasta with a side of fruit, is officially hooked on this stuff.

And because they are so nice, Chobani is letting me send the case that I won in Lindsay’s giveaway, to my cousin. See how nice they are?

And now they will send another 12 pack of their yogurt, to one lucky reader. And they didn’t even request that you just read through all that propaganda. In fact, they didn’t even request that I write it. I just think their product is that good. So there.

So to be entered to win, do one or all of the following (each one earns an entry), and in the comments, tell me which one(s) you’ve done PLUS add something you love about Chobani orrrr to make me happy, something you are  thankful for this  Thanksgiving:

1. Follow Chobani on Twitter

2. Follow ME on Twitter

3. Like Chobani on Facebook 

4. Mention this @marathonwiner giveaway and @Chobani on Twitter!

Happy entering kids!

A random winner will be selected and announced on Wed. Nov. 23rd–the perfect Thanksgiving gift!

Have an awesomeeee weekend :)

Only Crazy People Run Marathons

That may be true.

But everyone’s a little crazy.

Does that mean everyone should run a marathon? No.

But CAN anyone run a marathon? Yes.

So for day 4 of my binge of post-marathon glow ranting, we will discuss how anyone can run a marathon. And the benefits that come along with it.

Seriously, I was never, ever a runner. I’m pretty sure my own parents had to hide a chuckle when I used to run the short distance from first base to second base in pee wee softball. And things never improved. When I played basketball for a rec league I’m pretty sure I NEVER made a break away for a lay up. The court was too far for me to run too fast. And I hated running. So there’s that.

I won’t re-bore you with the details of how I got hooked on running. You can read all that here (oh, and that friend who convinced me to sign up for my first 5k? coming into town this weekend…yay!).

And I’ve written plenty of posts on how moving to NYC made it impossible for someone like myself (who had had a little taste of distance running with my first half marathon and Ragnar Relay) to NOT get into the running scene. And shortly after, intrigued by the marathon.

So say you’re crazy enough to enjoy running a little bit. And you’re crazy enough to join a running group, or try a race for the first time. That’s all you need to get the itch to run a little faster or a little further somewhere down the road. And lots of recreational runners follow that pattern. They start out at 1 mile. Then 3, then 6, then 13. And sometimes the running stops there and the excuses start.

“I’m not in shape enough to run a marathon.” I certainly won’t be the first to tell you, and Runner’s World and Hal Higdon and the rest of the world won’t be the last…in order to begin training for a marathon, the recommended “base” fitness level is being able to run for at least 30 minutes straight. That’s it. If you can run a mile right now–in 15, 11, or 9 minutes. It won’t take you long to work your way up to 3 miles. And BOOM! You’re ready to start.

“My job keeps me too busy.” Ha. I didn’t have the time to waste attempting to make a pie (that I’ve successfully made 43243 times in the past) and fail last night. Twice. But there’s a burnt mess of cold pumpkin and runny egg in the dumpster outside this morning.

Any who. The only time you need to carve out to train for a marathon is time you should be carving out for yourself anyway. If you don’t have one free slot of time in the amount of 30 minutes to upwards of 3 hours in two whole weekend days to give to yourself and the great outdoors, than we need to have a conversation on the side where I tell you to quit your job because life is short and happiness is important. But that’s a lecture for another day. The bottom line is, if you want there to be time, there will be time. A friend of mine is a lawyer, whom–if his job is anywhere near as demanding as the JD’s–we can assume works 80-100 hour weeks. And he completed his first marathon two weeks ago on the very tough streets of New York (awesome job, again!). Alls you need is a weekly long run!

“I don’t have the time to train for a marathon.” How many times did quasi-jokingly chide and berate myself for using Hal’s “easiest” training plan? A lot (let’s be clear though, no marathon training plan is “easy”). But the point is, there are a million different plans out there, and if you want to you will certainly be able to find one that fits into your schedule. Marathon training does NOT need to take over your life, as so many seem to think. Over the course of the last 18 or so weeks, I still managed to travel to places like Chicago and Arkansas, make multiple trips to visit my family in Richmond, spend weekends out on Fire Island, host bachelorette parties and go to weddings, attend cooking and painting classes in the city and do every touristy thing I wanted to do. And still train for a marathon. You can too!

“I’m scared of hurting myself.” Who isn’t? But you can hurt yourself falling in the shower,  or hopping down the subway stairs, or walking down the street. But with marathon training, you’ll be less likely to injure yourself. Because you’ll be eating healthy (well, if you are good and follow a healthy running diet…not saying I did…because I didn’t) and stretching a lot and building muscle and all kinds of other health/scientific words that I don’t have the credentials to be using.

“I’m scared I won’t be fast enough and I’ll disappoint myself.” Oh hi, did you pull that excuse out of my marathonwining mind? Because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said to my mother on Race Day Eve when I was trying to explain why I had a stomach ache. She yelled at me. “You say you LOVEEEE to run and you love it SOOO much that you PAID MONEY to register for this race and YOU TRAINED for allll this time to run a MARATHON! Who cares how fast you do it, as long as you do it? And you will do it fast enough FOR YOU because YOU did the training!”

Or something like that. Well put mom, well put.

And you’re probably saying right now, what I said in response to her: easier said than done. But if you have the slightest twinge of desire to want to run a marathon, you are likely already a runner. And runners always compete with themselves. So whether its not getting the time you want in a 5k or 26.2 miles, the point is the challenge. So what if you don’t get the time you want? You trained and you tried and you challenged yourself to train and to try. And you can always have a rematch.

“I’m scared I won’t finish.” Again. So you don’t finish. If you were scared every single time you got in your car that your car wouldn’t make it to your destination, you’d never leave your house. But you trust your car. So trust your body. And just like sometimes your car is physically unable to keep on chugging on a certain drive for whatever tiny or gigantic reason, your body sometimes needs a tune-up, or a little juice. So you give it a rest and then give it another whirl. Don’t believe me? Ask Dori (and p.s., congrats again, Dori!).

I’m not advocating that everyyyone in the world who likes to lace up some sneaks now and then sign up for a marathon…that’s just crazy. I’m just saying if there’s something you’ve thought about trying–whether its running 26.2 miles, or going back to school, or scuba diving or attempting karaoke– but didn’t for any number of silly reasons…then try it. You’d be really, really surprised what you are capable of. And the feeling of success and achievement that comes after it? There’s absolutely nothing like it.


Your turn!

- What’s something that you did that wowed even you?

- What’s something on your bucket list that you haven’t crossed off yet? Let’s get worrrkin’ on it!

Shelf Life

What is the shelf life of a post-marathon glow? I’m guessing it’s pretty long. And for the purpose of this blog…I’m allowing at least of week of hardcore attention. After that, I’ll try to limit it two no more than a few comments per post…

One reason I’m letting my marathon high stick around for at least another week in bloggerville is because I can already feel the notorious PMD setting in. Post marathon depression.

That doesn’t surprise me one bit.

I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys the buildup far more than the event itself, due to the excitement that comes with it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday–99% of the reasoning behind that stems from my entire family is squished into my parents house for at least four straight days of hilarity and fun, but the remaining 1% is because Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Once Santa comes to town in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, there’s still a full month of cheery, sappy, happy holiday goodness ahead.

I like Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day. Christmas Eve has a magical appeal to it for kids, what with Santa coming and what not, but even as an adult, a hint of that still lingers. Sure, Christmas day is fun and special and what not, but when it’s over…it’s all over.

I guess that’s why I enjoyed marathon training so much. I loved the build-up and the escalation and the feeling of getting closer and closer to a goal.

And on race day, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I woke up a bundle of nerves because I had a vague idea that I’d be getting something I wanted. But there was still a question of it was the exact thing I wanted.

Turns out, a sub-4 first marathon is like Santa bypassing your request for a new outfit for Barbie and showing up with the Barbie dreamhouse–complete with a wardrobe full of clothes for her unrealistic non-runner body–and a shiny pink Barbie corvette waiting in the fake Barbie driveway…with a brand new Ken doll in the driver’s seat.

I got everything I wanted…and more. And so much of it, was completely unexpected.

I did not expect to go out too fast. I know that I’ve gone out too fast in many a race in my day. But prior to Race Day, I hadn’t done any timed runs in a prettty long time (I think Grete’s Great Gallop was the last). And I certainly hadn’t felt like I was running any fast. For my last 18 and 21.5 mile runs of training I have no digital proof, but I ran slow. I took my time and just focused on covering the miles Hal ordered up.

I did not expect to share more than 10 miles with friends Larry and Tracy.I’m still hoping they wake up one morning and say to their lovely spouses (whom I screamed hello to each time we ran by) “Hey, remember that newbie I was running with? Do you remember what was written on the back of her shirt? I feel like she mentioned a blog or something and maybe I could look it up and see how she did or something…” And then they would stumble over to and see my many comments about them. And know that they made my first marathon the experience it was and how much I appreciate them pacing me for so long, and at a speed I did not know I was capable of.

I did not expect to love the course and crowds as much as I did. Sure, Richmond is my hometown, and its known as America’s Friendliest Race. But after reading so many race recaps on NY and the wall of support on First Ave, I tried not to get my hopes up about street crowds down south. But they proved me wrong. And now know what my fellow marathoners (whoa, weird, cause I am one now) mean when they say that the crowds are what carry you through the pain and through the tough parts. The crowd support in Richmond was amazing. There was a band around every corner, and on longer stretches where cheers were scattered, there was beautiful, beautiful scenery. Riverside Drive might be one of my new favorite roads.

I did not expect to see my friends and family so much along the course. Turns out, they know how to plan. And I managed to grab hugs and kisses at 16, pick up a friend at 20 (who picked me up every time I wanted to fall down for the last 10k) and get a little kick in the toosh via the encouraging screams at mile 21(ish?). Best of all, there were cowbells and jumps of joy from everyone in the finishers chute. Seeing my friends and fam and knowing they had all made it back to watch me cross the finish line is probably what gave me the last little burst of energy I needed to scoot in before the clock turned 4.

*Brightroom managed to capture this moment in a video. I’d share it with you, but its attached to all of my other brightroom photos from Race Day. All of which are scary. Legitimately. And none of which are stills of me crossing the finish line with the fist pumps I’d practiced so hard. What is UP with that, brightroom??

I did not expect to feel so good afterwards. Physically, that is (I knew I’d be on Cloud9 mentally speaking). Don’t get me wrong…I couldn’t eat solid food for a good long while after running. One car ride back to the south side after the race turned my legs to jello. Even now, anytime I try to sit or bend down a little bit I feel like I’m rudely imitating a 98-year-old woman. But overall, I don’t want to hole up on the couch and say “see ya” to running for a few weeks (even though maybe I should?). The opposite is true. In fact, this morning I finally returned to the reservoir for some very easy running. It was weird, not having any mileage goal I had to hit, but nice too. And I’ll enjoy that for the next month or so I think.

I did not ever, ever, ever for even a fraction of a second, expect I’d have any chance in the world of a sub-4. But I did. And I have Larry and Tracy and the course and the crowds and my family and friends to thank for it. And I feel REALLY good.

soooo happy

But there are two sides to that sub-4. Now I know I can run a marathon and in a relatively speedy time (pro). This confidence will motivate me to sign up for the 2012 NYC marathon with a little less fear and a little more excitement. Now I also know that I will subconsciously by fighting with myself to beat that time. And that invokes a lot of fear and a little more excitement.


So where was I going with this? Oh yes. These unexpected awesome things are my dreamhouse and Ken. And I know that just like seasonal depression kicks in after Christmas, my PMD is sure to set in soon. So bear with me while I ride this out a little longer :)

The Aftermath

So. After diligently training for 18+ weeks, what does one DO after completing a marathon?

Well, for starters, they do a lot of fist pumping and walk around BEAMING. And pretty much just remain in that fog of excitement for the next week or so.

i may be in severe pain. but im too happy about that sub-4 to notice.

After posing for many photos with your friends and family who cheered you on in the chute, you then dictate a few strict orders–you need 2 bottles of water, one bottle of Gatorade and a banana–STAT, but the banana has to be kept out of sight and out of mind until the vom-feeling goes away (turns out, that will be an hour or two LATER).

You get giddy over the sight of stairs and pace up and down them as much as possible.

You walk in circles among a very crowded post-marathon party in the park while your friends and family reconvene and make plans for the post-race celebration back at your parents house.

After doing squats in the parking garage elevator, and severe muscle tightening on the car ride home, you nearly fall flat on your face while walking into the house because your legs have momentarily turned to jello. But you remind yourself how good the stairs felt only 30 minutes before, and climb them to go shower off the massive amounts of sweat and salt.

Then you spend a few hours chugging water, munching on the massive piles of delicious food your family made and fruit bouquets they ordered.

so pretty you don't really want to eat it. except for the fact that for a good hour or two, fruit was the only thing i could stand the thought of consuming.

After fielding many congratulatory phone calls, retelling the entire experience a few times over, and having many mental battles with your body over whether you should nap for a “few minutes” or power through and continue enjoying the company of people you’re hanging with, you finally decide on the first option. And pour yourself that long-awaited glass of vino.

there are no two things that would make me happier to be holding than what you see right here kids.

I’ve heard stories of people finishing their first, second, fifth and 23rd marathon and rocking out until the wee hours of the night.

Those people really ARE crazy. I passed out HARD on Saturday night. However, aside from one early-morning stair encounter (well, and some continued dehydration which I’m sure the wine didn’t help), I felt surprisingly okay on Sunday morning. Yes, of course I was tight and achy (still am), but all post-marathon pain-inflicting horror stories considered, I felt pretty darn good (and still do).

So when my very awesome family suggested that we spend the afternoon in the great outdoors of the beautiful mountains of Charlottesville, I was in!

No, we were not hiking. Again, I’m not crazy.

We were picnicking and sipping more sweet goodness at Kluge…known now as Trump Winery.

pay no attention to the fact that i look like a girl who ran 26.2 miles after something like 3 hours of sleep. and just know that it was a super pretty vineyard and an awesome dayafteramarathon thing to do!

Afterwards we also stopped at the bottom of Carter Mountain at an apple orchard, where though the apples were no longer in season, there were at least beautiful views to enjoy and lots of yummy fall treats, such as hot apple cider and homemade apple and pumpkin donuts.

dear virginia, i love you.

a lot.

From there it was catching a plan back to the Big Apple. While I missed having the JD in Richmond with me for this epic weekend, I think this is where I missed him the most. Traveling solo after such an adrenaline rush of a weekend was a little strange and slightly uncomfortable. Too quiet. Too somber. I was already missing the marathon, and the cheer squads. And as much as I wanted to tell every stranger passing by me at RCA that I had just run a marathon and wait for them to jump up and down and be giddy and full of questions, I had to refrain. Mostly because I knew it wouldn’t reap the desired results.

Luckily, that feeling didn’t last too long because the flight from Richmond is super short. And before I knew it, I was looking down on this:

hello you sexy, city you. get ready. im ready to run you next november.

I’ll now spend the next six months missing my Richmond marathon, the six months after that preparing to tackle New York. And on and off over the course of that entire year, be itching to sign up for another 26.2.


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