Wednesday, November 30, 2011

6 a.m. wins and losses ...

By 6 a.m. this morning, several things occurred. Some, wins. Some, not so much.

Things I DIDN'T do this morning:
  • skimp on my training
  • sleep in
  • put on my contacts
  • remember my GPS watch
  • run outside
  • drown
  • sink
  • drown
  • panic
  • drown
  • flail
  • drown
  • breaststroke
  • did I mention, drown?
Things I DID do this morning:
  • woke up at 4:30 a.m.
  • more swim training than I've ever done in my life
  • wore a latex cap, goggles and a new swimsuit
  • swam 200 meters (yes, that is more swim training than I've ever done in my life)
  • didn't drown
  • swam freestyle, something I was convinced was impossible
  • ran inside on the YMCA treadmill
  • swam
  • contracted pinkeye
  • swam
  • wore my glasses which are 10 years old and the wrong prescription
  • swam
  • wore a winter hat while running on the treadmill even though the gym was 14 billion degrees just to keep the glasses from falling off
  • did I mention that I swam?
I'm calling today a win. Pinkeye and all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

supported ...

I feel that sometimes I take J for granted. He is 100% supportive of me, my crazy goals and pretty much anything I throw his way. I always know that if I want or need something, he is going to find a way to make it happen. He probably just wants me to be happy, but I have to wonder if he just doesn't see the point in fighting the inevitable (either way, I'm fine with it). It's true that I appreciate him and I do my best to make that clear to him, but I often forget that my situation is not necessarily standard. In fact, it might be unique.

To be honest, J and I have never had an all out fight.
Neither of us has ever left angry.
I've never said anything to him that I've regretted. And I'm sure he hasn't either.
We are a team through and through.

It's true that we don't agree on everything and at times we get on each others' nerves, but when it comes to the big stuff, we know that the individual pieces are less important that the end result. We know how to compromise without anyone feeling like they got the short end of the stick. We appreciate what each person brings to the table and we understand that we couldn't do it all alone. We want nothing more than for each other to succeed and to love every step of the process.

This thinking is so ingrained, that I often forget that this isn't the case for everyone. I forget that some people are faced with resistance and resentment. I forget that getting full support from the people in your life is not a requirement. I forget that they can choose otherwise. And it's in those moments that I see how good I've got it.

So J, if I haven't said it recently, thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being my rock. Thank you for never trying to squelch my dreams. And thank you for being my partner in all of this. I can't imagine a better person to navigate this life with.

Monday, November 28, 2011

ready, set, wait ...

18 weeks from now, I will be toeing the line at my first Half Ironman, Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas.

Today is supposed to be the first day of my training plan.

It's not.

I will not swim today.
I will not bike today.
I will not run today.

Because I'm sick.

I've had a fever for two days.
I can barely swallow.
I am a mucus factory.
My head is pounding.
My entire body aches.

Instead of beginning my journey to 70.3, I am fighting the Bat-Pig Flu.

Someone pass the tissues ...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

with a side of thanks ...

It's funny to me that so many people ONLY feel the need to profess what they are thankful for at Thanksgiving. I honestly believe that appreciating and being thankful of the things in your life needs to happen on a daily basis. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. And things could ALWAYS be worse. We need to take stock in all the good and shift the focus away from the bad. Perspective is the key.

I only say this because I can remember being a child and expecting things to be handed to me on a silver platter. I didn't know or understand all that my parents did to provide for us. And now that I have my own family, I do and I hope I can impart that message to my daughters. To help them see that it is not the material things in life that matter, but rather the experiences and people that fill our days.

In the past year, I have had plenty of moments that I have been thankful for and plenty that I would like to forget. And I am stronger and wiser and better off because of all of them. I have worked to remove negativity and replace it with positive people, experiences and energy. And today, like everyday, I am feeling blessed by all the things that fill my days, including ...
  • My loving and supportive husband. He encourages me to follow my passions, understands my quirks and is there for me 100%. I could accomplish nothing if it weren't for him. We are a team and we do our best to help each other get to exactly where we want to be. In the last year, I've come to realize how important this is and how lucky I am to have him. Not everyone gets this kind of support and I shouldn't take it for granted. (Note: He's also the kind of husband that will buy his crazy runner wife a high-end treadmill just because it's a "good deal." Thanks J.)
  • My three beautiful daughters. They light up my day (even when they are driving me crazy). They give me reason to live the best life I can, to be a positive example and to cherish the moment.
  • My mom and sisters. The older I get, the more I appreciate them. We don't agree on everything and we all have our moments, but in the end I love them more that I can express.
  • My running wife, G. She gets it. Good run. Bad run. And every run in between. She pushes me and lets me push her back, something that should not be underestimated.
  • The Core 4. Runners first, logical thinkers second. They are all crazy enough to sacrifice sleep to run with a friend. They know when to push the pace and when to hold back. We are united by a common love and drive with a little bit of healthy competition thrown in just to make things interesting.
  • My body. No, it's not perfect. But, it has created three of the cutest creatures I have ever laid eyes on. And it proves to me everyday just how powerful it is.
  • A healthy family. Enough said.
  • Patience. My girls can prove to be a challenge. And the one thing that keeps me from complete insanity is patience. And coffee. But mostly, patience.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

21 bits of randomness ...

I was tagged by Jen @ Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood to share 21 random facts about myself and then to tag 10 people to do the same. And since I always love a little bit of randomness, here it goes ...

1. My name is Tonia (Toe-Knee-Ahh). I have always had a bit of disdain for my name, as I have rarely met a person who could pronounce it correctly without hearing it first. Because my name is unique, I wanted somewhat unique names for my children. My plan kind of backfired. Dizzle's name, while unique for a girl was the fifth most popular name for a boy the year she was born and Doodle's name was the 22nd most popular in the year I bestowed it on her. When we found out we were having our third girl, I gave up on names all together and let Jeremy have control. It's was probably the first and last time that that will ever happen.

2. When I met my husband, I thought he had a huge gap between his front teeth. He doesn’t. However, all three of my children do.

3. I got married in the Bahamas. It was one of the best days of my life. One of the most memorable things that happened that day had nothing to do with me. My little sister fainted during the photos. Scary then. Funny now.

4. I don’t like waiting … for anything. I am a quick decision maker. I bought a house, got married and was pregnant with my first child in a matter of four months.

5. I had my first child young … I was 23. The second came along when I was 25 and the third, one week before my 27th birthday. This means that I was pregnant or breastfeeding for over five years straight. Despite that sacrifice, having children at a young age was the best decision I ever made, for numerous reasons. Think about it, we are the "cool, young parents", we are past the "baby" stage while all of our peers are just entering it, and I will only be 45 when Dilly goes to college. How epic is that?

6. Two of my biggest accomplishments are graduating from an Ivy League university (I finished in 3 years) and finishing six marathons. But, by far my greatest accomplishment is my daughters. Proof of the first two is hanging on my wall. I would hang my children on the wall too, but I think that is frowned upon.

7. I have never had a real job (i.e. one I could support myself with), but I am working on changing that. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is more job than I could have ever wanted.

8. I like to do a lot of things, but running is my passion. Strangely, I used to hate running and would avoid it at all costs. Truth be told, I still hate running, but I run at least five days a week and am mildly addicted. Need more proof? I ran throughout my third pregnancy and completed two sprint triathlons, 3 10Ks, an 8K, 2 5Ks and a half-marathon. Four days before I delivered, I ran seven miles.

9. I used to be overweight. That is no longer the case and on more than one occasion have been told that I need to eat something. Funny, considering pretty much all I do is eat. It's just that the people who have known me for more than seven years or so, remember how I used to be and the bad habits I had and they think that my current healthy lifestyle is extreme. (Note: It's not extreme. I'm a pescatarian. I don't eat a lot of junk. I know how to indulge. I run. I bike. I weigh 150-155 lbs and I have for 7 years.)

10. When I was 12 I broke my pelvis and dislocated my hip. I was on bed-rest for two and a half months and gained 70 pounds. Although my doctors were sure that I would never return to sports I did, and I competed through college. The only lasting effect of the injury is that my right leg is an inch and a half longer than my left.

11. I have two tattoos, one is a discus thrower. The other is Chinese symbols, and my sisters have the same one. I want a third and I'm just waiting for the go-ahead. At one point in my life, I had 12 ear piercings, in addition to a belly ring, an eyebrow ring, and a tongue ring.

12. I met my husband when I was 17. I was on a recruiting trip to his school, Cornell. He was my tour guide. After that weekend, I didn't talk to him again for almost three years. We started dating while on the Penn/Cornell Track and Field trip to England. We dated for 10 months before becoming engaged and we didn’t live in the same state until a month before our wedding.

13. If given three wishes, I would wish for wealth for my family, health for my family, and for my father to be able to meet my husband and children. If I was only given one wish, I would wish for my father to meet my husband and children.

14. My father passed away when I was 20. It was the worst moment of my life. It was also one of the best moments of my life. It completely changed my perspective on life and how I approach things. It made me into the person that I have become and that is a person that I am 100 percent happy with, both inside and out. But, I miss him everyday.

15. The last time I had an alcoholic drink was at my wedding. It was an amaretto sour. I don’t plan on ever having one again. For no other reason than I don’t like how it tastes. And speaking of my wedding, the only thing I ate during it was a cream puff and a bite of wedding cake.

16. My weirdest quirk: Whenever I stay at a hotel I always sleep with a hood on. I don’t like my face resting on the same pillowcase that others have used. With that said, I love to travel, yet have done very little of it, mostly because I have either been pregnant or had children for all but two months of my married life, which began less than six months after I graduated. The place I most want to visit: Australia. Yet, if I could live anywhere, at least for a little while, it would be the Pacific Northwest.

17. I am tall for a girl, 5’9" Yet, I am destined to be the shortest member of my family. My husband is 6’7" and most of my family, including my mom, are over 6 feet tall. It’s said that you can double a child’s height somewhere between age 2 and 2 ½ to get an idea of how tall they will be. If I do that for any of my children and it’s true, they will be between 6’ and 6’3.

18. I’m not a sucker for romance. I think jewelry and flowers, while a nice gesture, are a waste of money. Give me a box of donuts and a good pair of running shoes any day. Although I am not a jewelry fan, I never take off my wedding band and engagement ring. Ever.

19. I have a best friend from each stage of my life. Elementary school, high school, college and adulthood. I love them all dearly, although each of our relationships are very different. I've know my oldest friend for almost 27 years. I am about to turn 30.

20. Before we had kids, J and I went out to dinner and a movie almost every single weekend. In recent times this has changed. We haven't gone to see a movie together since DaVinci Code in 2006. We'll be ending our hiatus this weekend when we go to see Breaking Dawn.

21. I am extremely Type A. I like pattern and routine and things have to be done the "right way" (which is usually my way). I write lists for everything, including other lists. I pack two weeks in advance to avoid forgetting something. And I CANNOT leave my house if it's messy. I'd rather be late (and I really hate being late) than come home to a dirty house.

And now for the next in line -

G @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (Kids)
Mel @ Tall Mom on the Run
Kerrie T @ Mom vs. Marathon
Jen @ Setting You Free
Jess @ Pace of Me
Kim @ (Just) Trying is for Little Girls
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail
Rachel @ Running Backwards in High Heels
Kari @ Running Ricig
Lesley @ Racing it Off

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue Ridge Marathon Entry Giveaway ...

Do you have your 2012 race calendar planned out? Bored with pancake flat courses? (I'm not, but you might be ...) Are you looking for a challenge? Well, then look no further than the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA on April 21, 2012.

Picture this -- a cool breeze at your back, the scent of blossoming flowers, “purple mountain’s majesty” in front of you…and the SEARING pain in your quads with each and every stride down this freaking mountain!

Don’t come to Roanoke, Virginia to enjoy a relaxing weekend; come to see just how much the National College Blue Ridge Marathon can kick your butt.

Deemed the WORLD'S TOUGHEST ROAD RACE, the marathon course boasts a 7,200+ foot total elevation change (the half course comes in at 2,500 ft of elevation change). That's just insane! But, it's the kind of insane that us runners like to brag about. Here's the race director's take on the race.

Blue Ridge Marathon: America's Toughest Road Marathon from Pete Eshelman on Vimeo.

Intrigued? Here are the details:
  • What: Full & Half Marathon, 5-Person Team Relay, Walking Half, YMCA Kids Marathon
  • Where: Roanoke, VA and Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Date: April 21, 2012
  • Start Time: 7:30 am
  • Total Elevation Change: ~7,234 ft. (full), ~2,500 ft. (half)
  • Most Difficult Section: Roanoke Mountain on Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Beneficiary: Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Magnificent Views: Plenty
I mean, how could you not want to run this?

I'll be there running the HALF. Another marathon is so not on my radar right now. And you can be too. If you register for the Blue Ridge Marathon before December 15th, you can use the code "tough" for 15% off the registration fee.

Or, if your lucky, you could win a FREE entry right now.

Here's how to enter (separate comments, please):
1. Leave a comment to let me know why you want to run this race.
2. Become a follower of this blog. Leave a comment.
3. Follow Blue Ridge Marathon (@BRM26pt2) on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
4. Like Blue Ridge Marathon on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment
5. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Twitter (include @tmbrunnerfirst and @BRM26pt2 in your tweet) or Facebook. Leave a comment.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, December 4th. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, December 5th.

Disclaimer: Blue Ridge Marathon is providing entry to their race for both me and the winner of the giveaway. There was no other compensation for this post.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dunkin Donuts Munckin Run 5K Recap ...

Location: Midlothian, VA
Date: 11/19/11
Temperature: 45 degrees @ start, sunny
Official Time: 31:25 (with donut deduction)
Garmin Time: 31:55

The Good:

Race Concept - If nothing else, the concept of this race was fantastic. Eating Munchkins while running a 5K is pretty much my idea of heaven. And the vast amount of food I consumed, once again proved that old habits die hard. Without some serious self control, I could easily revert back into my former self.

The Outfits - Seriously, how fantastic do J and I look? And I didn't even have to ask him to coordinate.

Munchkins - Did I mention there were munchkins? Yeah, like tables full of munchkins every mile or so.

Pace - I ran the first 2/3 of this race with J. Just after the mile 2 mark, he asked if I just wanted to finish the race. I did. So, after averaging an 11 minute pace in those first two miles, I ran an 8:50 last mile, which included two Munchkin stops and two photo stops (when I saw J).

My moving average was 7:30 and somewhere in there I was running a 5:26. It's like all that sugar gave me turbo boosters.

Swag - Not only did you get all-you-can-eat Munchkins on the course, hot chocolate and coffee before the start and a race tee, every runner left with a coupon for a free box of 25 Munchkins and a refillable coffee mug. Insane, considering that the race only cost $15.

Extreme Eating Challenge Title - As you know, this race was never about speed for me. It was about donut eating. With no intention of letting J (or anyone on the course, for that matter) beat me, I consumed 22 Munchkins over the 3.1 miles. That's equivalent to 7.33 regular donuts. And I could have eaten more. It didn't bother my stomach one bit.

(empty munchkin cups. had to be carried to the finish for credit.)

The Bad:

The Course - Since the route had to stay on school property at all times, the course looped like crazy over rather uneven off-road terrain. It was sloped. And muddy. And not what I am used to. I was constantly concerned that I might roll an ankle.

Munchkin Fail - So, before the race we were told that each Munchkin would be in a cup. Once you ate the Munchkin, you had to carry the cup to the finish. Each Munchkin consumed would be a 10 second deduction from your time. Fabulous. I figured I had two things to do.

1. Eat more than J.
2. Eat enough to get some serious time taken off.

And I totally did both. But, since I wasn't paying attention well enough to the announcements at the start (which were impossible to hear), runners only got deductions for the FIRST THREE (3) MUNCHKINS. WTF? So the 3 minutes and 40 seconds worth of Munckins (also known as 1,400 calories) were for nothing.

The Ugly:

Organization Fails - I know this was a first year event. And I know it was thought up by a high schooler. But, there were some serious fails for this race coined as an "Extreme Eat-Run Challenge"

1. The 3 Munchkin Cap - On what planet is eating 3 Munchkins EXTREME?
2. No Separate Divisions - There should have been two divisions for this race: Donut-Eaters and Non-Donut-Eaters. There also should have either been a set amount to eat at each donut stop or the ability to get a time deduction for each Munckin consumed.
3. Order of Donut/Water Stops - At each stop the water came BEFORE the donuts. Totally needed to be the other way around.

With that said, I'd totally run this race again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

interrogation ...

Over the past few weeks, Dilly has become quite the kleptomaniac. We first noticed this behavior when we moved our sofas and found piles of toys thrown behind it and shoved into the cushions. Although didn't need confirmation that it was her, she did fess up to the crime.

Recently, Dilly has become a bit more bold with her klepto ways. Occasionally, she'll grab her sister's Nalgene bottle and ditch it in a random place. On Monday, she stole Dizzle's teddy bear and she tried to throw it in the trash can (I caught her as she was putting it in). And on Wednesday, when no one was paying attention, she took Doodle's pajamas and threw them away. We only realized this later when Doodle put something in the trash and noticed her monkey shirt in the bag.

Wanting to know what Dilly was thinking, I sat her down and asked. And I filmed it. Kind of like our own little NCIS investigation ...

And that cuteness is why she gets away with murder ...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Ignored - I'm confident that this happens to all moms, but when J is around, I pretty much disappear. My kids completely forget who I am and they all vie for his attention. On more than one occasion, I have been told, "Guess what, Mom? I love Dad." or "That's OK, Mom. I'd rather hang out with Dad anyway." or "Mom, go away!" This effect is amplified when there other "preferred" adults around. For example, at the mere mention of Grandpa or Grandma's name, the girls go crazy. And they completely ignore me.

Tomorrow, J's parents arrive, which means in 26 hours I will be rendered useless. Well, unless someone misbehaves. Because then, I'm the one who has to play mean cop.

Thanksgiving - Since J's parents are visiting this weekend, we are going to have Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. My first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian and I am kind of at a loss for a main course that isn't Tofurky. Most everything I find is really just a side dish. Any ideas on what vegetarians eat on a day that focuses on meat (other than pasta)?

Munchkins - In two days, J and I will go head to head in a Munchkin eating/running challenge at the Dunkin Donut Munchkin Run. I have no intentions of racing this 5K, in fact, I am going to run the whole thing with J (at his pace). And then I am going to eat more Munchkins than him. Because really, that's the true contest here. And although he's nearly twice my size, I think I have the advantage. Here's why ...
  • My 5K PR is 22:04.
  • His 5K PR is 29:48.
  • Running at his pace is going to be considerably harder for him than it will be for me.
  • Since I will be running at an "easier" pace, I will be able to consume more without it bothering my stomach, thus winning the head-to-head battle.
It's a good theory, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Since marathon training is over (hopefully for an extended period of time), I am spending the next two weeks in recovery mode. It's a nice place to be. Run as little or as much as you want to, because there is nothing looming. Eat too much, because that's obviously the best way to regain your strength. Sleep like a log, because all of the pre-race jitters are gone.

Well, maybe that last one's a lie, because two nights ago, I woke up in a panic.

I had a race nightmare.

A nightmare about a race that is 20 weeks from now.

A freaking swim-fail nightmare.

As you may recall, I am not the best swimmer (OK, I've never trained a day in my life). My strongest stroke is breaststroke and even that is weak. In the past, I barely survived the swim portion of the triathlons I have raced. Seriously, I usually finish the swim in the bottom 5 of my age group. Thankfully, "the Quads" know how to represent on the bike and the run.

Anyway, back to this nightmare. I was in Texas (where my 70.3 is) and I was prepping for the race. We were about a week out from the event. For some reason, I remember everyone saying that it was next weekend. I had all my gear in place, but then it occurred to me ...

I never signed up for a pool membership. And with less than a week to go, I had yet to do a single swim workout. I was screwed.

I woke up in a cold sweat. No lie.

You can fake a sprint. But you can't fake a half Ironman. It's a 1.2 mile swim. And I'm pretty sure floaties are discouraged.

Can you say swim-phobia, anyone?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Team Tough Chik ...

As you've probably figured out by now, I am extremely brand loyal. When I find a product I like, I stick with it. Hence, the 4,000 skirts from Lululemon and RunningSkirts. And then there are the socks. Don't even get me started on the socks.

And if you've been reading for some time, you probably know that Tough Chik holds a special place in my heart. I love the Tough Chik designs and I love the Tough Chik story. I mean, I wore their "i run" shirt in RUNNER'S WORLD. You really have to love something if you display it for bajillions of people to see it.

I am a "Toughie" (Yeah, that's me rocking my Tough Chik shirt with Mark Remy and Bart Yasso)

My kids are "Toughies"

And you can be a "Toughie" too. From now until January 1st, you can join Team Tough Chik. You can be a part of the Tough Chik community and show those around you, "What Tough Looks Like."

Interested? Then click HERE to learn more.

Note: I was not asked to write this post or compensated in any way. I just truly love this company and what they stand for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Richmond Marathon Recap ...

Location: Richmond, VA
Date: 11/12/11
Temperature: upper 30's @ start, sunny
Official Time: 4:12:52 (9:39 pace)
Garmin Time: 4:12:55 for 26.42 miles (9:34 pace), 2:56 PR
Place in Age Group (25-29): 98/281
Place in Gender: 562/1647
Overall Place: 1716/3787

The Good:

Pre-race Fun - From bagels on Friday morning ...

to the expo on Friday afternoon ...

to carb-loading on Friday night ...

marathon excitement was EVERYWHERE.

The Outfits - G, Pixie Green and I looked epic. As always.

No Pressure - There is something about running two marathons in six days that kind of takes away all the pressure from the second race. I knew that regardless of how fast (or slow) I ran, I could boast about the quick turnaround. And knowing that, somehow made it easier to run a consistent race.

The Course - I love this course. It's scenic and beautiful and the downhill finish is enough of a reason to run it over and over. But as a member of the Marathon Training Team (MTT), I ran the course so often that I knew it like the back of my hand. Talk about an advantage on race day. No surprises. No mental games. Just 26.2 miles and me.

Sub-2 Half - From the start, my goal for this race was to run with whoever I started with for as long as possible and then just finish, even if I walked the rest. I lost G pretty much in the first 10 feet of the race, but I was running with Jess and her sister Jodi (they both ran MCM two weeks prior).

We just decided to run whatever felt good. And somehow, as we approached the half marathon mark, we noticed that we were just going to break two hours (we crossed in 1:59:20) and that alone made the race a success for me.

PR Baby - Not exactly sure how it happened, but 6 days after running the NYC Marathon and missing a PR by 8 seconds, I finished this race with a 2:56 PR. It was awesome. However, I kind of wish my plan of "run a strong first half and then have fun with the second half", wasn't the plan I executed. When I caught G at mile 15.5, I decided I was just going to stick with her. Then she left me. And then I caught her again. It wasn't until mile 23 or so, that I realized that even with my eased pace in the second half, that a PR was going to happen for sure. Maybe I should have picked it up sooner.

The Last 2 Miles - Once I realized a PR was in the bag, I was re-energized. Add that to the fact that most of the last two miles are downhill and I was feeling unstoppable. Seriously. This is me at mile 25.5, looks like it could have been mile 1.5.

GBA - Like usual, our run group rocked it on Saturday. I'm proud of each and everyone of them. But, I am especially proud to be associated with G (who ran through illness), KC (who PR'd with a sub-4) and 3L (who BQ'd in her marathon debut). I love these ladies and am honored to have them in my life.

The Bad:

Un-GU'd - Although I started the race with four GUs attached to my race belt, all but one of them fell off while I was shedding layers in the early miles. Total Spi-Belt fail.

Photo-Op - As a member of MTT, we were scheduled to take a team picture at 7 a.m., one hour prior to the race start. Most days, that would be no big deal, but it was cold on Saturday. I arrived at 6:30 a.m. and by the time the race started, I couldn't feel any of my toes. And the worst part, you can't see me (or anyone I know) in the picture anyway.

The Ugly:

Wind - As you approached mile 24, a place I like to refer to as the "Lombardy Suckfest", runners were greeted with headwinds so strong that they threw you back a little. Not the time in the race to have a physical barrier like that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

bones ...

One might say that Dizzle is inquisitive. She wants to know as much as she possibly can before she commits. She loves to learn. She loves to talk. Some days I love this trait, and some days I want to put in earplugs and walk away.

On our way to soccer the other day, she was in a particularly inquisitive mood. It lead to the following conversation.

Dizzle: If we are made up of bone, how do we bend?
Me: Well, Dizzle, the bones don't bend. Our bodies are made up of a bunch of bones and we are able to bend at the places those bones meet. It's called a joint.
Dizzle: Oh, so our hands have lots of bones then?
Me: Yes.
Dizzle: So, that's why they can bend here and here and here ...
Me: Right.
Dizzle: Well, that's good, because if they didn't bend, we'd have to use magnet gloves to pick up everything.

(End of conversation. Until Dizzle starts talking to herself)

Dizzle: Wow. It's really hard to do anything with straight arms. I can hardly do anything at all. But, professionals can. But, not magicians. They'd have a hard time.
Me: What? What would magicians have a hard time doing?
Dizzle: Getting the people out of those boxes.

(Ensue laughter)

Seriously, Dizzle? This is what goes on in your head? Magicians who can't bend there arms can't get people out of boxes? And you can't do anything with straight arms but PROFESSIONALS can? What kind of professionals are we talking about? The amazing straight arm professionals? Because, I've never met one ...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Photobomb - Dizzle lost her 5th tooth on Tuesday. Like always, she freaked out when I told her I was going to pull it and five seconds later when it was out, she was still screaming in fear. When I told her I was done, she said, "Oh. That was easy." Obviously, she's is all about the drama.

Afterwards, she asked me to take her picture for Facebook. She said that she did not want Doodle to be in it. So, we put her tooth in a bag and I snapped a quick shot.

Yup, Doodle photobombed.

Epic Photos - Speaking of pictures, mine from the NYC Marathon were awesome. If I wasn't so cheap, I would totally buy some. Here are a few of my favorites.

Round 2 - And since we are on the topic of marathons, I am running my second in six days on Saturday, the Richmond Marathon. Unlike NYC, I'll have my posse and a ton of friends running this race with me. If you feel like stalking, my bib number is 2224 (how wicked cool is that) and if you are out on the course and want to look for me, I'll be sporting the same outfit as G. It looks like this ...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

erased ...

Dear child who will remain nameless,

In case you haven't realized, I am not your typical woman. I don't have expensive jewelry (other than my engagement ring) or handbags. I don't own dress shoes. The only time in the last 10 years that I wore makeup was at my wedding and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have the first clue about how to dress for a formal affair.

In addition to being low maintenance, I also don't have prized possessions. What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine. I let you wear my clothes, fumble in my shoes, screw around on my $600 cell phone and wear my medals as accessories. I am chill like that.

But, I have asked you time and time again, not to touch my GPS watch. It's expensive and unlike my phone, does not have a warranty plan. And above all, it has all of my runs stored in it. All of my splits. All of the elevation changes. Everything I use to analyze my training.

Or maybe I should say HAD all those things. Because thanks to your reckless button pushing, the memory on my watch has been ERASED. Thanks for that. It's freaking awesome.

Love always,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NYC Marathon Recap ...

Location: New York, NY
Date: 11/6/11
Temperature: 52 degrees
Official Time: 4:15:56 (9:47 pace)
Garmin Time: 4:15:58 for 26.86 miles (9:31 pace)
Place in Age Group (25-29): 964/2818
Place in Gender: 5183/16928
Overall Place: 20701/46795

The Good:

The Outfit - Epic, as always.

The Swag - Not only was the medal great (love the skyline) and the shirt actually something I would wear, as a member of Team Grassroot Soccer, I was given loads of great swag, including a team uniform furnished by Nike (tee, long sleeve top, capris and shoe laces), compression tights from 2XU, more SoyJoy bars and Muscle Milk than I will ever consume and of course, some Bengay for post-race recovery.

Meeting up with friends/bloggers/celebrities - As you know, Ethan Zohn is a co-founder of Grassroot Soccer and joined us on the marathon team.

But what you might not realize is that five other cast members from this season of the Amazing Race were on our team, as well as, former Survivors, Anthony Sullivan (of infomercial fame, he also made the name tag for my race shirt) and Aaron Scheidies, a 70.3 paratriathlon World Champion.

(the creation of my name tag)

While in NYC, I was also able to catch up with Kim, my Nuun Platuun vanmate, Melody, Miss Zippy and Molly.The Course Support - I'm sure that if you know anything about the NYC Marathon, it's that the course support is awesome. And it is. There is never a moment when you are alone. Someone is always cheering for you. Pushing you. It is an amazing feeling and reason alone to run this race.

A new half PR - I raced the first 16 miles of this race perfectly. I was right where I wanted to be and when I crossed the mat at the half split, I set a new PR of 1:56:18. That right there, made my race for me. I felt great at that point and I know I can crush the half distance. But do I get to count this one?

No Wall - As much as my legs died over the last 8 miles or so, I never hit the wall. I didn't want someone to drag my body off the course. And I didn't want to stop. Some days you just don't have enough, I may have had legs of lead, but my head was strong.

Post-race logistics - Although the runners were funneled out of Central Park on what seemed like a mile long path, the finish line area was super organized. Every runner received a space blanket, medal and bag full of food. Easy and efficient.

Not Seeing my Mom - My mom doesn't live nearby, so she rarely gets to see me race. Fortunately, she does live close to NYC, so she and my aunt were able to come see me run. They were stationed near the 25 mile marker and although, I never saw them, they saw me. And knowing they were in the crowd (and that I would get to celebrate with them post-race) was awesome.

The Bad:

The Course - I loved this course and I hated this course. It is truly awesome to run through all five boroughs, but the bridges are KILLER and the last six miles are pretty much uphill at just enough of an incline to drain your legs. By mile 25, I was wishing for the downhill finish of the Richmond Marathon.

Crowds - The course was so congested with runners that I found myself doing a lot of weaving, right up until the finish. Due to this, I ran .66 longer than 26.2, a total bummer since I missed a PR by only 8 SECONDS.

8 seconds - Did I mention I missed a PR by 8 seconds? How about the fact that I lapped my watch at 26.2 and it read 4:09:16? Yeah, I'm a little bit bitter about that.

Weather - I know that 52 degrees and sunny sounds like perfect conditions to run in, but honestly, it was too hot for my liking. I would have much preferred 42 degrees, as I was crazy hot any time I wasn't in the shade, which was pretty much all the time.

The Ugly:

The Queensboro Bridge - At mile 16, this is the steepest climb on the course. It was also the only time I recall there being any wind. It was brutal. I'd like to erase that bridge from my memory.

Monday, November 7, 2011

so close ...

NYC Marathon - The short and sweet of it.

I finished.

I missed a PR by 8 seconds.

I ran .66 further than 26.2 miles finishing in 4:15:56.

When my watch clicked to the marathon distance it read 4:09:26, 6:22 faster than at National in March (which is all that matters to me).

I'm not even one bit disappointed.

I've got 5 days to recover before I tackle the Richmond Marathon on Saturday.

Full recap tomorrow ...

Friday, November 4, 2011

2011 NYC Marathon Training Recap ...

On May 1st, I crashed my bike. On May 11th, I had reconstructive shoulder surgery. On June 1st, I started my comeback and began my marathon training cycle. At this time on Sunday morning, I will be toeing the line at the 2011 NYC Marathon with Team Grassroot Soccer. Getting to this point was a journey in and of itself. In the last five months ...

I have run a total of 928.17 miles
at an average pace of 9:22,
for a total of approximately 145 hours and 10 minutes,
which is 6 days and 56 minutes of running,
just to get one of these ...


23 weeks of training. 6 runs per week. 3 new PRs.
0 injuries. 1000s of laughs.

26.2 - YOU ARE MINE.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

3TT: NYC Marathon Edition ...

Chill - Apparently, I am running a marathon in three days. Have you heard about it? It's like the biggest freaking marathon out there. Something like 47,000 runners are expected cross the start line of the NYC Marathon. And I will be one of them.

Oddly, I am completely unfazed by this fact. I haven't tapered (because my unorthodox plan said not to). I haven't checked the weather (although, several people have attempted to give me updates). I don't have a single thing packed (which is very unlike me). At this point, I am beyond chill. Maybe it's because I feel super ready. Maybe it's because I'm not grasping the magnitude of what I am about to do. Who knows? Either way, taper madness has forgotten to make a pit stop here.

Stalk Me - The one thing that hasn't eluded me is what I will be wearing on Sunday. And it looks a little something like this (although my socks will be solid black, not argyle) ...

So, if you are spectating and happen to see me, please call me out. And if you are at home, staring at your computer, please feel free to stalk me. My bib number is 30328 and I start in wave 2 at 10:10 a.m.

Solicited Advice - Have you run NYC before? Do you have any tips for having a successful race? I want to hear them. If not, then just tell me I'm awesome and that NYC doesn't know what's about to hit it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Winner ...

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway. There were 48 entries and thanks to, the winner is ...

#16 Randi S. @ S Club 4

Congrats Randi! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com.

October Rewind ...

Ten months down, two to go. Here's my recap of October 2011 ...

Run Miles Planned/Miles Ran:
233.1/223.78 (an all-time monthly high)

Bike Miles Planned/Mile Rode: 0/0 (I've given myself a reprieve to focus on marathon training. Half Ironman training starts after Thanksgiving)

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 4/7

Highest Run Mileage Week: 10/10-10/16: 52.16 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: none

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 5/5

Current Book: Unless Curious George: Curious About Phonics counts, then none.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Lululemon. That is all.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray and Orange

Current Drink: Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee. I am perpetually cold and it is the only thing that warms me up.

Current Song: Calling All the Monsters - China Anne McClain (yes, I am 12)

Current Triumph: Finishing another marathon training cycle in one piece

Current Goal: Stick to the plan and crush NYC. I've done the work and I need to BELIEVE that I can reach my goals.

Current Blessing:
I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful.

Current Excitement: NYC Marathon. Dunkin Donuts Munchkin Run. Half Ironman training cycle. Christmas. My 30th birthday. Lots of exciting things happening in the next six months.

2011 Goals - Status Update:

  • Clean up my diet - I am tracking my food religiously at SparkPeople, survived my sugar detox and have been able to add a small amount of sweets back in without causing a total binge.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - As of November 1st - 21 cupcakes eaten
  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - Due to purchasing a new car, our debt repayment has slowed, but we have paid off over half of our consumer debt and are on track to be credit card debt free in 10 months. Plus, we are on track to have our student loans eliminated by February 2013, five month ahead of our schedule. And 10 years faster than if we let it go to term.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - As of November 1st - $178.50 spent - I caved and bought some stuff from Lululemon and a pair of jeans from eBay when my lone pair ripped.
  • Run 2,000 miles - As of November 1st - 1657 miles run.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - Next race - 2/26, Disney Princess Half
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - Completed - 3/26, National Marathon, 4:15:48, 33:50 PR.