Sunday, June 6, 2010

San Diego Rock n' Roll Half Marathon- COMPLETE!

It is absolutely amazing to think that I am DONE for the season- after five months of blood, sweat and tears and injury I finally finished the race I had been training for- this morning! And I can't believe I didn't break my toe or fall down the stairs or have some other traumatic injury the night before!

I can't begin to stress how amazing and fun the Team and Training inspiration dinner was last night. It was held at the Hilton Bayfront, and we entered the dinner to a ROAR of the mentors, coaches and LLS cheering us on in full regalia- men in drag, people with cowbells, everyone screaming- it was unbelievable, what an incredible moment! They then had John "The Penguin" Bingham speak. He was sooo funny and so inspirational. But most inspiring was having a woman from the NYC office speak about how she did the Rock n' Roll San Diego last year while her father was having chemotherapy treatments at a hospital along the marathon route- and showed a photo of him watching her run from the hospital rooftop. He then got up to speak, and the audience roared. I was also honored to sit with the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER for most miles run in 7 consecutive days, Mike Sheehy, who raised $43,000 by doing so. And all in all, the 4000 Team and Training members from chapters all over the country raised TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS by doing this race! GO TEAM!

After a very sleepless night I got up at 3:15 am to get ready for the day. Luckily I've gotten up at the crack of dawn every Saturday for the past five months to run, so I knew what to do as far as what to eat, what to wear, etc. I had everything set out just in case I was brain dead in the morning, which I was. It was pitch black at 4:45 am when I got to the start at Balboa Park where everyone was meeting and after searching for about 20 minutes I finally found my team!

I was absolutely delighted that I was able to find my training partner this season, Sara. She has been training and fundraising in honor of her dad who is going through treatment for Leukemia now, and so we're bonded through our fathers- and of course having the same pace. She's a rock star fundraiser, which means that she raised $1000 over and above her fundraising goal, and so got to wear a singlet with a big star on the back of her shirt- as well as tickets to seaworld, etc. Believe me, that singlet was a life saver because whenever I lost her in the crowd I just looked for that big huge star. I felt like I was a kid in a grocery store half the race- like where's my rock star? It was absolutely amazing to be able to do the race with her.
Here we are waiting at the port o pottie line, which is where we spent most of the morning as the line was a half hour long.

Here are all the girls that have been training together all season long on the Green team. Sometimes I ran with all of them, sometimes I ran with one or two on one of the mentor runs...we're the "5 minute run, 1 minute walk" girls. It was a such a pleasure to start with so many of them in corral 36, aka the slow paced group. Since the race started off in waves according to pace and corrals, it took a good fifty minutes before we went across the start line!

I love the sea of purple!!!

Here are the marathoners that started before us!
Getting closer to that starting line!
On Highway 163. That was one long highway to run on! My favorite aid station was where the army members were in camoflage handing out water to us. I felt very honored!

The first few miles were very difficult, as it was very muggy and I was pretty dehydrated and didn't get much (if any) sleep. I really didn't know if I would make it or not- was pretty delirious, woozy, etc. I had a gel at mile three and it really pepped me up, thank god, then the next five miles went pretty well. I appreciated the men on bikes at the top of a big hill on 163 who kept a mantra of "Take this time to stretch. Be careful on the downhill. Relax. Breathe through your nose. Take it easy." On the downhill we (Darcy, Sara and me) ran into the assistant coach David, who ran with us for about a half mile and checked in with how we were feeling. At this point Darcy's knee was hurting and Sara's foot had stabbing pain, but I felt good because we were going downhill. Uphill was another story!

Right before 163 was the Mission Mile, where there are signs of honored patients up to remind us why we are here. I also thought it was funny because there was a mile of people waiting for the port o potty! Unfortunately our waiting for it caused us to be among the walkers and we had to weave through them for quite a while.

Cheerleaders along the course. My favorite were the men in drag doing the cheering!

Gotta love the big huge guitar player! This is really a Rock n' Roll marathon!

Darcy asked me to take a photo of her with this woman. I love the sign!

Sara's mom, boyfriend and friends were at mile 8 on Friar's Road. It really put a pep in her step!

John and Kristen were at mile 10 with these awesome signs they made with hot glue and glitter. Gotta love it! They were so psyched to see me after waiting for over an hour (or two?) but at least they were waiting by a band! John was absolutely giddy!

Me after 10 miles. I was so happy to see my sister and my hubby!

Bye bye!
Kristen and John were cheering from top of a bridge at mile 11! Thank god we were still running!

The final push just before the finish line! We walked about 3 miles due to injuries, but at least we finished!
Hanging out with the Running Elvises at the Beer Garden after the race. Gotta love it!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing for us at the finish line. They were SOOO good and even though I could barely walk because of blisters and my legs felt like they were sawed in two by chafing, I was having a great time dancing!

At the finish!
YEOW! My finish medal, which is so heavy! Thanks to my friends and family I was able to raise $100 per mile and finished in about 3:37 give or take a minute or two (it would have been a lot faster if we didn't stop at those port o potties!). This was for you, Daddy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two days Until the Big Race!!!

Had an action packed filled morning, starting with getting up at 4 am to make the NBC morning news. They had a segment on the Rock n Roll marathon and wanted to include some Team in Training members to illustrate their story. I was told to get there by 5:45, not realizing the segment started AT 5:45- lesson learned, I need to show up a half hour early for television spots! I got there at 5:46 so just stood along the sidelines as they did their segment outside the NBC studios with John "The Penguin" Bingham, TNTers and running Elvises. The link is here . More then anything I really wanted to meet The Penguin, whose running column I've always loved in Runner's World- about being a back of the pack runner (ah, HELLO!) and doing races for the enjoyment of them and not to win/ break any time records. I was pleasantly surprised to find how friendly and down to earth he was, and he was absolutely delighted when I gave him a Penguin stuffed animal from my company, Ganz. We took group pictures and he had that penguin front and center, and asked for my photo with him so he could put it up on his facebook page.

Since I was late and the PR person for the Rock n' Roll marathon took pity on me (or so I think), he told us of another press opportunity with the local news KUSI Channel 9 at the finish line for the race a half hour later. So my Team in Training teammates hopped in our cars and did a caravan over to the Seaworld parking lot. It was nice to meet the news anchor Bridget Naso, who was very funny and easy to talk to. I also found it interesting that when they are speaking on the news they have someone talking in their ear telling them what to say- it's got to be very confusing! The news was a lot of hurry up and wait- they did a segment at 6:30 am and again at 7 am, basically talking about the course, how they added a half marathon, and their new finish line. One of our Team in Training teammates also talked briefly about how the San Diego chapter raised $700,000 for this race (!!!).

While we were waiting to go on camera I got to know the other TNTers who were on the different teams of the San Diego chapter. One was doing TNT because a friend died of leukemia, another, Erik, was a consultant for medical research and pharmaceuticals, and the third, George, has had leukemia for the past ten years. George has been going through chemotherapy again, and just had a treatment two weeks ago, and a blood transfusion two (?) days ago AND is doing the marathon on Sunday. Okay, I'm done bitching about how hard it is!

After we were done with the news segment George and Erik and I headed to the Hilton Resort on Fiesta Island (wow, what a place!) to cheer on another Team in Training teammate, Mike Sheehy, who is trying to break a Guinness World Record for most miles run in 7 consecutive days, ending by doing the Rock n' Roll Marathon on Sunday. Basically doing two marathon distances plus 12 miles for good measure a day. WOW! You can see his blog here. He wanted to raise $30K for the Leukemia Society by doing the run and is now up to $42K on his fifth day so his new goal is $50K. He's such an inspiration! I got a chance to see him run as he was finishing up mile 14 this morning (and 304 miles in five days) and he looked completely refreshed and was as if he was running on air- like, la la la, so fun! Let me just tell you, I have NEVER looked so good running as he did after running 304 miles! He is also on the front page of the sports section of the Union Tribune too : ). I was especially touched by this blog post by the woman who inspired Mike to do marathons for Team in Training because of her bout with leukemia.

So excited, scared, nervous and thrilled to be doing the race on Sunday, I can barely concentrate on anything else! I'm looking forward to the expo tomorrow to pick up my race number!!! : )
Practicing my finish line photo at the ACTUAL finish line!

Team in Training Teammates, the anchorwoman for KUSI Bridget Naso, George, and Erik- ready for our closeup!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Final Long Run Before The Race!

Today was our last long run before the BIG race in 8 days! It's almost here! I alternate between jumping out of my seat in excitement and wanting to puke from anxiety!

We met at Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores with the purple and north teams (since the San Diego chapter has so many people training for Rock n' Roll, we break out into three teams- I'm on the green) to do six miles and discuss the race logistics afterwards. It was such a beautiful place to meet, right on the ocean although who ever decided this would be our last run before the race was a cruel person, ha ha ha! It was almost all hills, including some REALLY steep hills, so needless to say I was walking a fair amount of it. We went from the La Jolla Shores to just beyond the Children's Pond where the seals are. Did I say how much I love training here? I actually felt pretty great, although I played it safe and walked back from the aid station and kept my ankle wrapped up in an ace bandage for the run. If I could wrap myself up in bubble wrap until the race to keep myself from getting injured again I would!

On the walk back, I saw a couple in a pickup truck hanging out with their cockatoo. I asked if I could take his picture, and just then the bird walked over to me and landed on my arm, fluffed his feathers, bounced and said, "Happy bird! Happy bird!" What an amazing moment- the couple were so happy and so was I, and they took my picture while the bird said, "Pretty Bird!" Training for this with Team in Training has given me so many moments of grace and extreme beauty, not to mention happiness!

After the run, we were given the run down on the race and final information. Alisha, the LLS coordinator told us to practice our finish line photo (arms UP!) and whenever you're lagging during the race to practice it! Coach Ronnie told us that this week first and foremost we are an athlete and to take it easy on the booze (lesson learned from last week) and hydrate hydrate hydrate. No heels, wear athletic shoes if we can all week, take it easy at work, and don't wear new clothes, shoes, or eat anything new for the race.

We're meeting at 5:15 am (yes, you read that right) at the start by the UPS trucks. We were told to first wait in line at the port a pottie and then when we are done, go back in the line and THEN meet with the team. Spending $100 on Brooks items to use their VIP potties sounds awfully tempting right now! If we're going to take the shuttle from Qualcomm, we have to be there by 4:00 am. Major sucking up to my sister and husband for a ride to the race line begins NOW.

So far the San Diego team has raised over $700,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!!!

The view from my run/walk back from the aid station. Not bad!

Our awesome coach Ronnie telling us that we are meeting at 5:15 am at the starting line. Yay!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twelve Days Till The Marathon!

And....I'm training by spinning! My left ankle is still a bit swollen and the top is also sore, some sort of overuse injury by doing the 12 mile run I'm sure- or 9 miles in beaten up trail shoes, take your pick. I was thinking of running on the treadmill but I don't want to take any chances since the race is so close. I'm soooo bummed that I can't run and I'm losing my training/ endurance/ chance for getting faster but such is life. Better to cross train and get my cardio in by doing the eliptical or spinning class.

I do have to say that I enjoy spinning. The instructor is this cute little thing that sweats her butt off and sporatically yells, "C'mon. You can do this!" "You got this- just one more minute." "Come on come on..." I think during the race I'll think of her voice saying, "you got this- you can do this!" There's something really nice about the group of us all biking at the same cadence, to the same music, collective consciousness. I also think the reason why spinning is easy(ish) to me versus running is because I am not pounding 150+ pounds on the road with a stationary bike...

Monday, May 24, 2010


The half marathon is just under two weeks! Yay! My ankle is still really bothering me! Boo!

A weird throbbing pain, just above my inside left ankle bone. Odds are it's my shin splints that have been haunting me all season. My left achilles heel problem has also been rearing it's ugly head, which stinks since I barely ran three miles on Saturday. So bizarre to have the run in less then two weeks and not do any running for fear of hurting myself further. I took the week off in between runs, which sucked for my cardio on Saturday, but didn't seem to help with re-injuring myself. I do think jumping from 6 miles to 9 miles then to 12 miles from one weekend to the next just did a number on me. I'm wondering if I just do spinning before the half marathon counts?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lesson Learned

Went to Vacation Isle for our long run today, only six miles (how funny to say "only 6") as a taper for our race in TWO WEEKS. There weren't as many people there- I think people are still pretty banged up from the long run last week, or they figured they could do the six miles on their own. Much easier to do six miles solo then 20! Everyone was also a bit more subdued too, tired. For myself, I'm ready for the race to get here and a bit tired from a long season.

I ran with my awesome running partner Sara, but I felt like CRAP! She had said she heard the first ten minutes are always the hardest because of your blood glucose level, and then after that your body goes into it's reserves...something like that. So I felt like crap the first ten minutes, then twenty minutes, then felt like I was going to puke for another mile. Finally I said it's just not my day and had Sara go on with the others as I walked to the aid station to get a powerbar and some citromax and walked back with another injured teammate. In the name of full disclosure I was still most likely hungover from Thursday night when I went out with my awesome Happy Hour Crew. Lesson learned, NO MORE WINE until AFTER race day. Wow.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spirit Award

I forgot to mention, on April 3rd I got the Green Team's weekly Team in Training spirit award! It was because of my volunteering on the aid station when I was injured, the video I made for the Team, and blog...and I like to think overall enthusiasm for Team in Training. As a reward I got to wear this absolutely ridiculous and AWESOME hat which is covered in flair for a week and add my own bit of fabulousness- which was sewing on a little plush Shrek at the top.