Oh yeah – love is in the air

The AirBnB BK Half Marathon is complete, done, finished.

It was hard – from the first mile to the last. Every step felt tortuous, I never warmed up, it rained, actually poured the first 2 miles and if it wasn’t for my friends running with me and my lovely spouse and friends cheering for me along the route, I’m not sure what I would have done.

So to them go all the props!

Pre RaceMissing from this picture is L. who whoohoo’d, every mile, checked in with each of us, made sure we drank water and gatorade, ate food, and also made sure the other runners around us were also okay!  She flirted with race officials and cops, as well as running ahead and getting the crowd to cheer for us. And most impressively she danced her way to the finish line. She made me laugh, dance for just a moment, and made me wonder, why I doubted myself. She reminded me how well I trained, how prepared I was, how more than anything I deserved to believe in myself. She was in a word, magnificant.

O, pictured in the middle is wonderful. She gave me room to feel all my feelings, she’s really good at honoring people and their journeys. Training with her always grounds me. She reminds me that morning grumpiness is always acceptable and that I am better than I think I am. And she got me to do sprints!

M, on the far left is my ace!  We met almost every week, sometimes twice a week to get in our training runs. We laughed, gossiped and complained about running while we ran. She ran the whole race with a smile on her face, the whole darn race. She was a few steps in front of me as we crossed the finished line and she did what she has always done, she turned back to make sure I was by her side.

Running...FriendsIf you don’t have one, I recommend getting your own cheering squad. My best friend, on the far left, has been to almost every race I’ve run. She flew to San Franscisco to cheer me on in my first marathon, 11 years ago! This time around she asked for the date and made sure she was there. She’s always there. She is family.

L, second from the right is sweet and kind and a brillant artist (she’ll hate that I said that, but she is) and has become a part of our inner circle. Whenever we plan something big or small we can’t imagine the event happening without her presence. She’s made that extremely difficult for us these days, since she’s not as close as she used to be.

BT, on the far right is a confidant, best friend, trusted advisor and very much part of our family. She is always looking out for me, for us. Her heart is big and I’m glad I’ve got a piece of it.

And that lovely lady, K, second from the left is EVERYTHING. She takes care of me, loves me, and in general doesn’t take me at all seriously. She was both my cheering squad and coach. She made sure I ate and slept well.  She made sure I didn’t miss my runs, and stretched. No matter how tired, cranky she might have been – she always asked how my run was and listened.

I’m sure I’ve embrassed them sufficiently. I love them and want everyone to know it!

finishers medalMy finisher’s medal belongs them.

Almost there…

It’s almost time!  Woohoo! Yikes! Deep breath!

My lovely colleague T made this collage for me!

Running Machine

I was so moved I could barely say thank you.

It served as a reminder of how truly lucky I am.

It also reminded me of all the things I’ve gained during this training, things that have nothing to do with running:

  • No asthma during allergy season! (I can’t remember the last time I needed my inhaler.)
  • Walking up the 4 flights of subway stairs is almost easy.
  • My belt hooked on the second loop when I started, now it’s on the 5 fifth loop.
  • I’ve gone down at least one size.
  • I’ve lost almost 10 pounds.
  • Renewed confidence in my body and what it can accomplish.

running-goals-for-2015

As I continue running, here are my goals :

  • Run faster.
  • Run longer.
  • Run longer faster.
  • Run injury free.
  • Run my hometown marathon – the NYC Marathon.
  • Run races in other states and other countries.
  • Run well into my 80’s and 90’s.
  • And most importantly, continued health benefits.

See you on the other side!

Finish-Line

Grateful

I have incredible family and friends – they love me, challenge me, and support me in all my endeavors.

I’m so lucky to know them. I’m so lucky they love me.

It’s hard to fail (no matter what happens) with so many cheering me on.

4 days to go!  I’ve got two super short runs this week and then I get to relax before the big day.

I’m looking forward to the post-race celebration.

Balloon-Clip-Art

I’m looking forward to my future as a runner.

10 Days!

The AirBnB Brooklyn Half is in ten days.

Brooklyn Half

Deep breath. I’m nervous.  I’m excited.

I’ve kept up with my training. I still walk more than I prefer and running is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes it feels like wow, I’m running, and other times I just want to stop and go home.

I ran with my friend O and she had me doing interval and sprints. Intervals, no problem, but sprints?! Sprints!  I felt like a 9 year old girl, pony tail bouncing against my back, wind and sun in my face as I chased my school friends playing tag. It was amazing. Sprints will become a regular part of the routine.

Michelle, who will be by my side during the race, reminds me to just keep a study pace.

And I’m still nervous.

I’ve been hoping for a breakthrough in my running, one that will undeniable let me know that I’m runner.

I think the breakthrough is me saying I’m a runner.

Listen up, y’all — I am a runner.

A Glimpse

I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been running.

My work schedule is busy and will only get busier for the next 5-6 weeks. You know, right along when my mileage continues to increase and the actual half-marathon happens.

Our long runs are up to 8 miles.  8. Wow.

It’s still hard, but last week I had a few moments of running that I actually enjoyed.

a glimpse

Those few moments took me completely by surprised.  In those few minutes, running was, I’m afraid to say it in case I jinx myself, but they were, e a s y. The moment came and went and then came and went again. My body and breath were in sync, I looked around at the budding trees and noticed the early blooming forthyias and magnolias. I might have even smiled.

It was a glimpse of what I imagine my running life could be – smooth, almost efffortless, not always, but most of the time.

The rest of the run was hard, as usual.

Night Run

Night run in Prospect Park

Last Wednesday, Michelle and I met for an afterwork weekday run.  It was such a treat. We usually do the weekday runs solo and report in via text. There were several running groups in the park doing interval training. We were inspired by their sprinting runs and we decided rather than do 4 miles, we would try interval runs.  This is not our first fooray into speedwork. Usually, once a week we push it, higher speed for long periods, but mostly on the treadmill.

We decided that we would run faster – not our fastest, but faster for 1 minute and then recover for 1 minute for about 30 minutes.  We were extremely pleased.  Our faster runs felt good.  It proved to us once again that we can pick up the pace, which we promised to do in our next weekday runs!

Those two things happening in one week, made me feel like something is happening, that my body is learning that quite possibly I could do this for the rest of my life.

8 miles here I come!

 

 

 

 

Beastmode vs. Tortoise

My endurance level is increasing. Woohoo! On the treadmill I feel superhuman, like Marshawn Lynch!

lynch beast mode

What!? On those days you can’t tell me nothing! Unlike Marshawn, I’m willing to talk about how good I feel and how fast I’m moving.

On the streets, however, I feel more like

op2_hare_and_tortoise

It turns out I’m running just a bit faster on the streets than I am on the treadmill.  Who knew?!

In the park, I feel heavy, bulky, slow and I’m still taking walking breaks.

How do I adjust my perception?  How do I start feeling on the streets like I do on the treadmill?

I’m still pretty terrified and the training continues. Week 4 is done and I’m half way through week 5!

Week 4 Training

Total miles for the week: 12.5

Best moment: Feeling super human after running 3.5 miles in under 55 minutes

Best song: Kanye West’s – All of the Lights

Longest run: 5

Running While Fat

Running is hard.

Running while fat is an adventure in difficult.

Weeks 2 and 3 of my training were tough.  I was plagued with doubts.

I was reminded by both my partner and best friend that I ran several half marathons and a marathon weighing more than I weigh now.

mental

It was good to be reminded of those accomplishments.

But really, I just want running to get easier, if only just a little.  Who am  I  kidding, I want it to get a lot easier.  I want it to be easy! I’ve been  putting  in the miles, yet each step felt like I was dragging a boulder  behind  me.

At the tail end of Week 3 I met my running buddy Michelle and together  we did our long run, 5 miles, together.  What a relief.  Some parts were  easier and some parts, like going up hills, were still hard.

For all of my previous races I’ve trained part of the time with friends, with  a community  of runners.  I’m coordinating my schedule to meet with  friends for at least one run a week.

Michelle and I managed to laugh  about the craziness of choosing such a long distance to train for to get back into running!

I’m working on my mental game as well.  There have been a few times where I’ve talked myself into walking when I should been, could have been running.

Week 4 is turning out okay.  I’ve logged in two runs and felt good about both.  I’ve still got a ways to go, but step by step I’ll get were I’m going.

Half Marathon Training

Since I signed up last month for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I’ve done my best not to panic.

Brooklyn Half I recommitted to running at the tail end of last year, but I also knew that without a big fat looming commitment my running would sputter, stall, and stop. Making it that much harder the next time I attempted to start over again.

When I saw the announcement for the Brooklyn Half I didn’t think, I just signed up for it.  Yikes.

I’ve slowly built up my running base. I can do 3 miles, without feeling like I’m going to die.  Last week I ran 3 miles and felt good, actually great for most of the run.

Most of the my running has been in the gym.  It’s a struggle to run in lower than 20 degrees for me.

The treadmill and I have been getting cozy with each passing subzero-winter week.  I’m on week 2 of my half-marathon training and it’s finally warming up.  I’m ignoring the fact that it’s snowing as I type this.  I’m really hoping that’s the last of winter.

Total miles this week: 9.4

Longest run: 3

Best moment: Walking home like BAWSE after a glorious run!

Best song: Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine

Up Next: 4 mile run outside (no matter the weather)!

Keep An Eye Out

I have a calendar at home that reminds me of the miles I’ve run and the ones still to come. How many miles today, tomorrow, the day after and so on. The plan is clearly written out. The plan isn’t set in stone, there is flexibility, but the road map is clear.

FullSizeRender

I look at the miles ahead and take a deep breath and think, “Shit. Oh yeah, I got this!”

I’m hoping that at some point the initial doubt fades away and all I’m left with is, “I got this!”

I’m hoping that first half mile gets easier, let alone the rest. I have to push through that initial — wait, what da hell moment and get my labored breathing into a nice rhythm that syncs with my legs…and then, then I can just run.  If I’m lucky I focus on the music, road, people, park, anything. If I feel the least bit of stress, I worry about my pace and the time, my pace and the time, it becomes a terrible feedback loop.

Why do I insist on doing this? Running is hard. I’m overweight and slow and still I want to run. It’s a deep desire that I don’t understand, all I know is that I have to honor it.

I insist at my age (never you mind what the number is) at becoming athletic. I insist that I run, not like the young women out there who look like gazelles, but like a woman, sure of her steps, regardless of the road ahead.

images

I run to chase that woman, that image of me – confident that even if I came in dead last, I did not quit, and each hard won step brought me closer to grace.

I keep my eye out for her – for that me, just brimming, bursting with life, joy, pain, laughter and love. Sometimes she’s just a breath away, I can feel her right next me, sometimes I can barely make her out in the distance, but I’ve yet to lose sight of her.

I keep my eye on her – me.

Total miles this week: 10

Longest run: 3.1

Best moment: Feeling sweaty as the treadmill came to a stop.

Best song: Micheal Jackson’s Love Never Felt So Good on repeat for the last half mile of my speed workout. It saved me!

Up Next: Half-Marathon officially starts next week! Whoa!