Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another 5k under my belt

I decided last minute that I would run the Carol Baldwin breast cancer run with my friend Laura this morning.  Carol Baldwin is the mother of Alec and Stephen Baldwin.  It is a local inaugural race that benefits the our university hospital and cancer research.  Great cause in my opinion.  I really like to do races that I know the fee to run is a donation for something I support.  Medical research is always a great donation.

I figured that because my muscles arent sore anymore after my half marathon last weekend that I would be fine.  And maybe I would have been...if there hadnt been tons of long and very tough hills.  I started out strong hoping that maybe I could get a decent time.  Three miles should feel like cake after running 13 last week, right?  WRONG.  My legs and ankles were tired after the second hill.  The hills were long and steep and just kept coming one after another.  And even though we got to go back down every hill we did, I couldnt even enjoy it because I was so tuckered out.  And, for the first time in any of my "races" I had to walk...twice.  Did I mention the hills were killer?

But, I am so glad I did it.  It was a great cause and it was fun.  I love being in that environment where so many people get together for an awesome cause.  There were so many people in so many shades of pink.  There were girls with hot pink bras on the outside of their clothes.  There were young people and old people, and people of all shapes and sizes.  There were men wearing shirts of all sorts talking about "boobies".  There were tents for all sorts of things (even exotic pets) and tons of free goodies.  I love free stuff :)  There was music and coffee, muffins, bagels, fruit...compliments of Freihoffers, Wegmans and Tim Hortons.  It was one of the better race environments I have been at.  And one of the best things was that Carol Baldwin was there herself.  She was walking around with her walker(with pink bows on it) and assistants at her sides.  She was introducing herself to everyone and shaking their hands.  She was so happy to see such a great turnout.  There were over 2000 people signed up she said.  Pretty good for an inaugural race, and even better to see her so touched!

Here are some pics.

Me and the hubs.  He didnt run but wore my shirt :)

Laura, Carol Baldwin, and me before the race.

Me and Laura

Not loving my midsection in this pic. is what it is.  Reality.

The hubs in my pink shirt.  He wears pink well, right?

A guy walked in front of the camera...

A random tooth walking around handing out free (pink) toothbrushes.

This lady was loving up on this lizard.   Giving it kisses and hugs like it was a dog. It had a long snake like tongue.  See our faces?  Scared.  Take one....

Take two.... a little calmer.

Pretty turtle

Ewwwww...I left at this point!

Laura:  "cookie anyone?" I the only one that thinks this is inappropriate at a cancer run???
And here is the newest addition to my car after the half last week.  I drive around with pride and get excited every time I see it!

I pulled a muscle in my back at some point today and my legs are tired.  A few days off and a more serious effort on my eating plan are in store for this week!  Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Thank you to those of you who said such nice things about my first half marathon!  I hope you all enjoyed the pictures.  If it werent for other people blogging and pictures of their half marathons I am not sure I would have even gotten up the guts to try one for myself.  So thank you to those of you who have inspired me and made me feel like I could do this!!!!  This blog has been an amazing support system for me.

And now that I have, I think I am addicted!  I cant wait to do another one.  In fact, I just looked at some races coming up next month in my running magazine.  Its getting a bit too cold here in NY for marathons around here, but I did find one in VA which is probably an 8 hour drive.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  But I am totally looking into it!  And, I called my friend Laura and asked if she wanted to come with me because she is totally capable of doing a half.  And I want her to have that surreal feeling that I still have!!!  Plus, a girls weekend sounds awesome doesnt it???  We have 6 kids between the two of us so I am thinking we are deserving, right?

My soreness and stomach issues have subsided.  So now I am left with some pictures, memories and a medal.  It was such an amazing experience and I cant wait to do it again.  If you had told me two years ago that I would have run a half marathon in my lifetime, I would have laughed (as I  took another bite of my donut...hehe).  This has made me feel like I am capable of whatever I put my mind to.



Monday, October 17, 2011

I DID IT!!!!! My first half marathon...

Me at the expo!
 I did it!!!!!  What an amazing feeling it is!  My family came into town to support me and I also had some amazing friends come to the run to support me.  It was an amazing experience mainly because of my people who were there supporting me! 

Saturday afternoon my family started arriving.  My cousin Mike(he ran the race with me), my cousin Trish and my parents came into town.  We hung out for a bit, made some signs with the kids, had a pasta dinner and just relaxed.  I got my stuff all ready and headed to bed.  I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I was for my first 5k.  Odd right???   The morning came early at 5:00.  It was race day!!!  Finally the day to put all my hard months of training to work and prove to myself that I can do this.

For breakfast, some coffee and a bagel.  Here we are before leaving for the race.

The weather had called for clouds, showers and wind.  We were thrilled to get there and see...sun? And it was about 50 degrees.  Perfect!  We found the porta potties and then it was time for the full marathon to start.  We watched them take off then got in position for the half marathoners to start.  The gun sounded and off we went.  Mike wished me luck and we parted ways.  His pace is much faster than mine.  The first three miles was pretty unevenful once we left the start.  The course brought us on the closed highway and onto a parkway along the lake which was also closed.  So there were no spectators along this part of the course.  My pace was steady around 11:15 min/mile.  Thats comfy for me.  At three miles they brought us off the parkway and into the park to run along the lake where I saw the first spectators.  Yaay!  Then I realized it was my friend Karen and her family.  Here's the sign she was holding.  It made me chuckle.

After I passed her there were more spectators.  Not much further along I could hear my family and friends in the distance screaming for me!  They looked like they were having a tailgate party!  They were clapping and cheering as I came around the bend.  I could hear whistling and noisemakers.  My reaction totally took me off guard.  As soon as I saw them all I got all choked up!  Literally.  I was in tears.!  Not the best for my breathing!  I tried to hold them back but that was worse and made me choke.  But I was so touched that I couldnt help but cry.  I am in tears right now just thinking about it.  Here are some pics from around mile 3 ish.

I had the best support there!!!!

Tailgate party with coffee and donuts I heard!

homemade my girls!

homemade shirts too!

You can barely see me in the back behind the girls with the white shirt.

behind the girl with the green.  My sneaks are orange :)
Okay...clearly not the best picture of me, but hey...we are keeping it real right? Fupa and all...

Then we ran the whole rest of the length of the lake and turned around at the 6.55 point.  I was doing well and holding a steady pace.  I had planned to take Gu every 3 miles but seemed to hit a wall at mile 5 so I took it  a little early.  It worked out fine because I took it every three miles after that to carry me through.  I liked the out and back course because it helps me mentally to know I am on my way back and more than halfway there!  Around mile 10 I started getting tired but I knew I would be coming up on my fan club soon, and that I could take more Gu at mile 11.  To my surprise my awesome friend Laura was there to meet me before I reached them!  She gave me a pep talk and ran with me until we got to our peeps!  It was just what I needed at that time.  Here are some pics!
Waiting for me!

Here I come with my pep talking Laura!
Hi guys!  Sooooo happy to see you!!! (10 miles ish in)

Seeing them along with the high fives and pep talk boosted my morale.  Where they were standing was perfect because 1) I got tired at mile 10 where they were and 2) after I left them it was back out of the park and onto the parkway and highway where there were no spectators.  There was however, at mile 12, an aid station with some volunteers.  They were great and reminded me that there was only a mile left! There were plenty of cheers and supportive words from them and even some music whcih was nice.  Somewhere around mile 11.5 it dawned on me that "I AM DOING THIS!".  It was perfect timing  for this epiphany because just before this at mile 11 I was talking to myself (literally outloud) saying "You can do this Jen.  Keep going."  No one was close enough to hear me.  I was struggling to keep it in the 12 min/mile range. After the aid station I started having some grumbling in my stomach.  Perhaps some downward movement.  Oh boy, please not now is all I was thinking.  I dont usually have this problem when running.  I was talking to God saying please let me get through this!  I had heard of people having "accidents" while running and didnt want to be one of them.  Luckily I was fine (until today). 

At mile 12.75 I knew in my head it was almost the end but still no sign of the finish line in site, and not that many spectators either.  Hmmm...  Then I turned the bend and saw it in the distance.  I kept going and my watch said 13.1 but I still wasnt at the finish line.  Whatever.  There it was.  I could see it.  I was sure up to this point I didnt have much left in me but once I got to the cheering spectators and my family and friends on the home stretch I gave it all I had.  I was all smiles as the people were clapping and yelling motivating things.  I looked down at my watch and it said I was at an 8ish min/mile!  I dont know where the burst of energy came from but I loved it!  I finished at 2:38:23.  I did it!!!!!  Here are some more pics.
See me in my pink shirt back there next to the sidewalk?

Home stretch!

Still smiling!  So happy to see the finish line!

Hi guys!  I am almost done!!!!

All done!  Me with my medal!!

Me and my cousin Mike who ran too!

Me and the hubs :)

The crew...
And at the end of the day here is what I have!

I am still on cloud nine today.  I am in awe that I put my mind to this, completed the training schedule and achieved my goal!  And to think that I used to not be able to run for even 30 seconds!  I was one of the bigger girls there but that just made me more proud. 

I am super sore today and having some stomach issues which apparently is normal the day after(??????-Shelley?????).  But it is all worth it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A little stressed....

But not about the half marathon(which by the way is in 4 short days!!).  Actually I am really looking forward to it. I read there are 900 marathoners and 1100 half marathoners signed up.  I like bigger races because they attract more spectators and its easier to blend in.  There is more people of all different shapes and sizes.   There is such a great feeling amongst the runners all out to accomplish a goal.  And with this many runners I am betting there are others out there doing their first half just like me. 

But my stress is about something else.  We have decided to sell our house.  Its not really the season for selling a house since its starting to get super chilly.  But, we want more land and maybe some more animals.  I like my house but I am excited about moving at the same time.  The hubs and I have talked it over and over again and decided that listing the house is what we should do.  So the sign is in the yard as of yesterday and it feels so...decisive.  We think its better to list it now instead of the spring so that we can settle into a school district for the girls before they start next year.  I dont want next summer to come and us still not know where the girls will be going to school.  Thats cutting it too close.   Even though we are only looking 20ish miles north of where we currently are, it will put our kids in different school district than their (preschool) friends.  So, that makes it hard too.  I have made some awesome friends in the past few years(and our kids).  And it doesnt seem like 20 miles would change that.   I will be praying about it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

6 days and counting....

I cant believe this half marathon is in 6 days.  But now having done the 12.3 mile run last week I feel like I am capable.  At least I hope so.  I am so excited that I can taste it.  I feel so blessed to have such an awesome support system.  I have three good friends (and their families) , my parents, hubby, my kids, and my cousin coming to support me. And my other cousin is running it too (at a much faster pace for sure).  This race is early.  7:00 I think.  Now, that is hardcore support.  I am so blessed to have people who care about me.  I dont think any of them know just how much it means to me.  I can be quite sappy at times. 

But on the flip side...I am so mad at myself.  I just cant get my eating under control.  I joined Weight Watchers.  I did great for the first two weeks.  Lost 10 lbs.  Then it all went downhill.  I didnt go to the meeting last week.  I kept trying to get back on track.  Everyday I would start out well.  I would track my food.  Midafternoon (every single day) something came over me.  I ate what I wanted and stopped tracking.  I said I would start again tomorrow. And I did.  Every day.  Started out great then veered off plan...everyday.  It is a nasty yet familiar blast from the past.  I dont like it.

I have had several bloggers tell me in the past how their weight depends mainly on how they eat, regardless of exercise.  And I am realizing that is so true for me. 

Let the plan work.  Thats what I have to keep reminding myself.  If I follow the plan it WILL work.  What is so hard about that?  I am fighting myself here.  I am getting fruit tomorrow so I am prepared when I get hungry.  Any other suggestions?  The long runs make me hungry the two days after my run.  I am finding hard to control the hunger.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My longest run in preparation... 10 DAYS!!!!

First...where has all the love been?  Where are my regular commenters?  I miss you!!!!!!   I have been freaking out the past few weeks that this half marathon is right around the corner.  Actually, its 10 days from today.  I figured the only way to calm the nerves and "what if"'s was to get out there and prove that I CAN do this.  I needed to turn the doubt off now so I dont spend the next 10 days petrified. 

So yesterday I dropped the kids off at preschool and left from there for a run.  I knew I had exactly two hours and thirty minutes before I had to get back to pick them up.  I set out for what I figured the time would allow me:  12 miles.  I was armed with my Gu and Gu chomps, my friend Laura's water belt (I now realize this is a must have), my Ipod, and Garmin watch.  When I dropped the girls off I could feel people staring at me.  But I didnt care.  One dad said I looked like a science experiment.  hehe.  I really did.

I went six miles and hoped to go a bit further to make it 6.5 so I could make an even 13 miles, but I knew that would put me over the time that I had to be back to pick the girls up.  The first six miles were better than the last six, as expected.  My legs were getting tired and my speed slowing.  But I was doing it!!!  And when I returned to the school 2 hours and 26 minutes later I had gone 12.3 miles.  And if I can do that then what's .8 more to make a half marathon, right?  I felt so proud of myself.  People were stunned that I had just run 12 miles in the time we dropped our kids off.  I was still in shock myself.  The most I had ever run before that was 10 miles. 

Last night my legs started to stiffen up before bed.  I woke up several times during the night because they hurt.  My knees and ankles were so sore.  Even my upper body was a little sore.  When I got up this morning it wasnt much better.  But it doesnt matter because I set out to accomplish 12 miles and I did.  Mind over matter. 

I did have a little "altercation" along my unfamiliar route yesterday.  There were several groups of construction guys I assume working on the same thing in different spots.  The first set was two guys.  The one guy saw me coming and went over to the other guy and said something in his ear.  They both looked up and stared at me.  So 7th grade right?  It bothered me the whole run.  On the way back, about 11 miles in, the same thing.  He saw me, went over to the guy and said something and again they both stared.  They were down in a field.  I worked too hard to let them take my pride.  So...I went right down there into the field and said "Is there something you want to say to me since you keep talking about me and staring?"  He looked shocked that I spoke up.  He said.... "uhhhhh, we have to look for traffic".  I said "Down here in the field?  What you are doing is rude" and off I went.  Now, I know I am a bigger girl (for a runner) with big boobs and a FUPA.  I dont need to be reminded.  Maybe it was traffic, or maybe they were judging me. Or maybe it wasnt negative at all.  Whatever, I said my piece and accomplished my 12 miles.

So the countdown is on:  10 days!!!