Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another Year has Gone By.... Quick Recap

Another year has gone by and I have neglected the blog. I originally started this to fund-raise and that was my justification for letting it go but I do feel like I have accomplished something even if I write a line or two when I keep up with this. Today was day 3 of running for me this week. I am training for the Philly Half Marathon in November and I think because I have already run a few half marathons I keep thinking of it like no big deal. ‘No worries if I don’t train, I can just walk it!’ And then every once in a while I will have the thought of breaking my PR and I know that I need to actually take time to train if I am to do that.

I do not run for speed or to place, I run because it makes me feel good. I really like the medals too, let’s be honest. However, I would like to train and see if I can break my PR for the Half. It helps that this is in Philly and I already have run it in 2011 when I did the Full Marathon. I remember looking at the Half Marathoners as they turned to head to their finish line and I continued on to Mile 14. I was hating for sure... I got my Marathon PR at that race too. There is nothing like running a route you have run so many times before but having tons of people yelling for you and the others. That is actually what I like to daydream about when I am doing the day to day runs...a crowd cheering as I cross the Finish Line. Alright, back to reality.

Since last year, I have not run too much. I did do the Broad Street Run which was fun once the crazy train ride to get to the start was behind me. What else…. Well life has been amazing, that is for sure. I started my final year of Nursing School on Monday, I went to Ireland and Paris in April with Jeff (amazingly awesome), actually there are a ton of things that I can’t even list but just know: overall life is wonderful. That being said I do feel the running lacking in my life. 

It is really easy to justify skipping a run here and there when I am working full time, in school 2 nights a week and weekends, plus the commute, etc… however there are other kids in my class that have to do everything I do and they still find time to run. One woman in particular is a marathon runner and very good at it, she has placed in most of the races that I have asked her about, but she is very modest about it which makes her even cooler. She was telling me last Spring that even taking 20-30 mins to run will help you to focus and study more. Over the summer I did try to run on the mornings that I had tests and I think it helped me do pretty well. Not sure if it was all of the studying or the running or both but I didn't want to jinx it so I would run those mornings just in case it was the running help me pick those multiple choice answers. Win-Win.

As you know I enjoy taking pics so let me just post a few from my runs this week…

Ben Franklin Bridge- This morning

Rittenhouse Square- Yesterday

Since I have not written: Here are a couple from the Broad Street Run in May.

Very Good Point...We are choosing to do this, so smile kids

Oh yeah!!!! I almost forgot….Jeff and I ran a 10K when we were in Dublin!!! That was the coolest!!!! So many people and at night!! Wow can’t believe I forgot that one… so that was a race in April, race in May.. I guess I have been in the running world a bit. 

All of those yellow dots are runners

First Irish Race...Everything is cooler in Ireland, basically just because you are in Ireland

Next... on to November. My runs have been short this week although like I said, 3 days in a row is a big step. I am going to try to get back to a routine of a couple short runs and one long run per week. This semester is going to be tough in school especially since my program just raised the bar with GPA and grades per class. 2 semesters left though, home stretch! I have to keep in mind that my brain wants my body to run because it makes me healthy and it also gives it a break from the text books!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guess Who's back

OK I have gone over 9 months without posting and almost 10 months without running a race. I am freaking antsy!!! I feel an urge in my stomach to run and have been able to a couple times the past couple weeks. Tonight I took my last final for this semester and am looking at 3 weeks off until classes start again. 3 weeks with just work and NO SCHOOL, so clearly I am trying to find a race I can sign up for to ensure motivation to get out there and run!! I will be around mid September for the Rock N Roll Half marathon, but the entry fee is close to $100 at this point...

Philly Half in November is 110 I think and the full is $130. I have off from school but it is my clinic make up day, in case I miss one of the other weekend clinics in the fall. If I were to commit to that I would have to be 100% sure I will not miss any weekend clinic (which I have not done yet) but I am hesitant to make that commitment until it is closer to the race. I wish there was a 10K or something similar the end of August or a Half marathon for Dec/Jan.... I am going to start the search.

I had to get it out there, I miss running. When I am not running it feels weird... I used to loath running in HS and college when I had to do it and now that I have not in close to a year...makes me sad. Time for a change..

Friday, October 26, 2012

What I Learned the Last 5 Years

As I was finishing my AC update I started typing and words began to pour onto my screen. It turns out there is a lot more that I had to say overall about the impact running has had on me. I started this blog in 2009 when I signed up for my first full marathon to help me raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and I have kept it going since. I remember when I had tear away fliers in the Cancer Center at Penn (where I was working at the time) to promote the blog and the amount of support I got from the patients and my coworkers. This blog has helped me find gratitude and love even in the most painful situations. This might be my last entry and I wanted to give an overview of what I have learned since I ran my first mile in my first race.

My first Half Marathon was in Feb of 2009. Since then I have run 6 Half Marathons (Tallahassee, Philly (2x), Nashville, Disney, AC), 3 Full Marathons (NJ, Philly, Disney), and 2 Ultras (20 in 24). That is pretty amazing, considering I was scared to run a 10K in 2007 (My first ever race). When I start Nursing School in January, my life will change completely. Every time I get an email from or other race sites telling me about the races coming up, I do get a little sad. This was my last race for awhile and it hit me with those last tenths of a mile. I started to tear up from joy and sadness at the same time. I am so grateful that for some reason I decided to start running a few years ago. Countless people have encouraged me, from the very beginning, and I have had a chance to help other people get into it too. The races I ran with Back on my Feet and with Team in Training, all of the friends I have made purely because of our common hobby, and of course the people I meet on each race day, are simply irreplaceable. My life is absolutely better because of those people, organizations, and the places I have gone.

Every time I have started a race, I have finished feeling like a champion. I have never broken records, and do not plan to. I joke a lot about why I run (medals, t shirts, soft pretzels) but the truth is that I have proven to myself that it is possible. From that 10K Run (Ben Franklin Bridge Run in 2007) to the 20 in 24, every step I took went beyond what I thought I could do. I have literally gone miles past my expectations because I took it one step at a time. I am getting choked up typing this because I am realizing what a huge part running has played in my life. I know in my heart that anyone who sets their mind 100% to doing what they truly want, can do it. When people congratulate me and say ‘I could never do that,’ I tell them ‘ you absolutely could.’ The human mind is so incredibly powerful and it is up to us to shift that power.

That first race in 2007 came 18 months after I finished college (the first time). My mind had not thought about shooting for the stars in a very long time before then. I trained for that race and suddenly I had something to talk about with people, other than my job. When someone asked ‘What’s new?’ I jumped at the opportunity to tell them. I was excited to do something I had never tried before.

When I moved from Jersey to Philly in Dec ’07, I was nervous about making friends and what my life would be like living in a city. My mom had given me the information about Back on my Feet and I joined in Jan ’08. 3-4 mornings a week, I met with BOMF members and volunteers at 5am and we would run before the sun came up. We entered a few 5 K races and then it came time for Broad Street and I thought ‘10 miles, that’s crazy,’ as my mouth told the other members ‘you’ve already come this far, you can run 10 miles.’ I started to run on my own and shift my thinking. What would I say to someone else if they were running with me? And that incredible mind power switched from negative to positive. Some people may just have the gift of being able to switch to positive and optimistic without any outside influence but for me it helped to pretend I was encouraging someone else. I would run with other people and mean those positive things I said to them, so why couldn’t it be true for me too?

Michael, Sera, & Laverne- BOMF
20 in 24- 2008 BOMF Team Mercy (8.4mi)
1st Half Marathon- Tallahassee, FL 2009
In Feb of ’09 I ran even farther than I had before, in the Tallahassee Half Marathon. I ran for Back on My Feet and fund-raised for that run. Knowing during that race that I was running for other people, gave me the motivation I needed to keep my mind slightly more positive than negative. After that race I went back to 5Ks for a few months until I got a pamphlet in the mail about Team in Training. I showed up to an Info session solely to find out what this was about, I made up my mind to not commit to anything that day. 2 hours later I had given my $100 deposit and was signed up for my first Full Marathon. I had to raise a lot of money but it was for a great cause and I also was on a team of people who were in the same boat as me. We met once a week on the weekends and they helped me get 100% ready for anything that could happen on marathon day. Nashville- April 2010, tornado warnings caused the race officials to cut the marathon time at 3:30, forcing me and the majority of other first timers to only run half. I was devastated, but TNT gave me the opportunity to run NJ the following week and that was my first Full Marathon.
1st Full Marathon- Long Branch, NJ 2010

A week after I ran NJ I started school again (after 4 years of solely working). Something happened while I was working at the Cancer Center. I started to believe that maybe I could help these patients more than just scheduling their appointments. Maybe I was smart enough to go back to school and become a nurse. I am just now starting to see that maybe when I crossed that finish line, after running farther than I ever had my whole life, I realized that I could be more and do more than I ever imagined I could.
1st Ultra (61 miles)- 20 in 24 Philly 2011
Philly Rock N Roll Half- 2011 (with Carol)

Philadelphia Full Marathon 2011 (Donna & Rachel)

Pushing myself farther with my running gave me the courage to start pushing in other areas of my life. From May 2010 until right now I have completed my prerequisites and have been accepted in to LaSalle University’s Nursing Program, am at a job I thoroughly enjoy and also get to learn (Medical Field), and as stated above I have run hundreds of miles more than I ever thought I could. Life is always changing and I know this temporary pause in my running will not stop the miles I will go in the other areas of my life. The fact is had I not started to walk that first mile, I am not sure where I would be today. The mind is incredibly powerful and for today my switch is on positive.

Disney World Full Marathon 2012 (I met these guys 26.1 miles before this pic)
Broad St Run 2012 (Jessie)

I want to thank all of you who have followed me on here and I hope to one day return and share the distances I have gone from now until that time. In summary, running opened a door for me that I never knew was in my room of life. On the other side was wonder, challenge, beauty, pain, and friendships that will last a lifetime.
20 in 24 (61 miles)- Philly 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Atlantic City Half Marathon

Atlantic City Half Marathon Finisher 2:35

Sunday morning, October 21, I laced up and got in the car with my mom and brother Patrick to head to AC. It was chilly, around 48 degrees at 6am. Saturday my mom and I went to Bally's to pick up my race packet. I do not go to AC often and couldn't tell you where anything is other than the ocean, but it is pretty cool to look at! The boardwalk is really interesting because you walk inside and you are in a casino. It was really pretty inside with waterfalls and cowboy paintings. Oh and yes they did have a Balloon Arch at the Expo (ohhh fancy)!

Sunrise on the Beach
I was surprised there were not more people at the start when I got there at 7:20am. The race started at 8 and I thought for sure I would walk up to a sea of people. At about 7:45, that sea flooded in. I think most of the runners were inside waiting. The sun was out but it was still pretty chilly when we started. The first 9 miles we ran around on the streets, on some ramps, through a tunnel, around the Borgata, and in front of the new casino Revel. I had forgotten my watch and the holder for my phone, so I held my phone the whole time. I ran the first mile without walking and then I switched to a run 5 mins, walk 1-2 mins. Since I was using my cell I just looked at the lock screen and did not have an accurate second count. Of course if I saw a water stop ahead I would run until I hit that, then walk a bit. The momentum of the other runners kept me going longer than normal.


Once we made it back on the boardwalk, we only had 5 miles left. We passed the finish line around mile 9 to go out and back…. I felt like I was NEVER going to reach the turnaround point. I saw the Full Marathon Winner pass me when I was at Mile 11, he was at mile 25… Crazy town. 

All in all, I did not hit a wall. There was a point when I wished it would be over but I think I hit that point in all of my races (even 5Ks). In every run I do, when I know there is only 2 miles or 1 mile left it feels like 4 miles. Once I finally hit the turnaround, I could see Bally’s and where the finish was, way off in the distance. I started cheering on everyone that was heading the opposite way to reach their turn around. I saw a few of the Marathon Maniacs and realized they were not even half way! I was so grateful to only be running 13.1 miles and not 26.2! It had been awhile since I was in a run and able to finish with the majority of people and not continue my trek. 

My first Marathon, NJ Marathon, it was a double loop so you literally run to the left of the shoot where the Half Marathoners are finishing and you are only half way… That will make you hate things real quick. Then in Philly last Fall it was the same thing, the Full Marathoners continued on Kelly Drive while the Half Marathoners were done in front of the Art Museum.
Where's Nookie Thompson?
With about a half a mile to go, I started to get emotional. There was a stage for 100.7 (the rock station down the shore) and a band was playing, so automatic goose bumps. I started to think about the next few years and how far I had come in the past 3 years. I was able to keep it together as waves of joy and gratitude pulsed through my sweaty body. 

I finished strong with a 2:35:36… and I am very happy with that. It is not my best time and it is not my worst but it was my only Atlantic City Half Marathon time and I did it! I finished and that ultimately is what I signed up to do.

This is how we Do AC :p
Inside with the Wild West Theme

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bailey Chance 2000 (?)- 2012

I'm sad to write this but our family dog, Bailey, died on Saturday. She was about 12 years old (shelter dog so not sure exactly) and a great dog. Even until the very end she was showing her love to my mom and I. Here are some pics so you can see how absolutely adorable she was.

Picture Perfect Weather

Well I am happy to report that I have in fact been waking up and running! 4 days last week and 2 already this week. The weather is great! Here are some pics from this past week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Autumn Weather

Friday I woke up in time to run again. I love Fall and am hoping to keep this routine going!