October 21, 2013
12 days and counting.
I received my Bib number and start time, so it’s on!
My Bib # is 63183. Remember, please do not start looking for me on TV at the start of the race. The folks at the beginning will be across the finish line and celebrating victory in Manhattan before I even leave Staten Island. I am in ORANGE WAVE #4, CORRAL #63 and am not scheduled to start until 10:55 am.
Here is the link to the course map http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/images/pdf/INGNYCM13_Course_Map_ForWeb.pdf
Please let me know where you will be standing along the route. Let’s all agree that wherever you stand, it will be on the LEFT side of the street. One of my coaches said that she ran about 26 miles in Brooklyn alone because she kept zig-zagging from one side of the street to the other when she saw people she knew. So, let’s agree to be on MY left as I go zooming by :)!
Since we actually run over 13 miles in Brooklyn, I would appreciate as much help as I can get in the County of Kings.
Can't wait to see you on the course. I could not have gotten this far without you!
October 15, 2013
19 days and counting!
Sunday was my last long run before the Big Day. I ran in the Staten Island Half Marathon (13.1 miles) and actually PR’d (set a personal record) – yay! As you know, I have been a little down on my training so far; but thankfully, this was my best run of the season. I started out slowly and felt good all the way through. I had that great pace feeling (the one in which you feel like a galloping gazelle) and without trying, I ran a 10:37 minute per mile pace. I even had enough in the final mile to sprint to the end. I won't try this pace for the marathon (too fast) but Sunday did a lot for my confidence.
No matter how well I do or how many times I complete a long run though, I still can’t believe it’s ME out there. I mean, this is some really crazy stuff to do!!!! As one of the women in my training group pointed out, we don’t actually realize how crazy it is until we speak to people outside of our group. See, when we tell each other that we’re going to run 18 miles, we say things like, “you can do it; you got this.” When you tell other people however, and they give you the - just ate some starch look – that’s when you realize this is just not normal behavior!
In any case, after the race I ran an additional 7 miles to equal a 20 mile run. Twenty is the most I will run before marathon day. Mercifully, we have begun tapering (cutting back on workouts and mileage) and I truly welcome the opportunity to rest. I am also looking forward to the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) dinner on Wednesday. I’m sure this year’s event will be as fabulous as ever. It’s such an inspirational night! The parade of elite female athletes who have reached the pinnacle in their respective sports always brings a tear to my eye. And, you know I am a mega fan of WSF founder and legend, Billie Jean King (see my photo with her from last year on my journal page). As I said before, she is such an inspiration and even after breaking so many barriers and creating countless opportunities for women, not just in sports, she still continues to (seemingly effortlessly I might add) be a champion for social change and equality.
The WSF does such great work and your donations help to get girls active and involved in sports today, so that they build self-confidence, learn teamwork and develop the decision making skills that will help them become better leaders tomorrow. So thank you so much for your contributions.
Here’s to tapering and the Women’s Sports Foundation!
September 20, 2013
Hello. I hope you are all doing well.
We are now in countdown mode (six weeks) and needless to say, I am getting a little nervous.
Training has been a bit tough for me this year. I was traveling a lot and had to juggle to fit workouts into my schedule. As a result, I don’t feel that I was able to put as much into training as I did last year and in some ways, don’t feel as confident as I did before.
In any case, the 18 mile tune-up was Sunday. You may recall that the tune-up is supposed to be a good indicator of marathon readiness. You may also recall that after running it last year, I could not move, let alone pick up the earring that fell on the floor (if you don’t remember, you can certainly see my training log from last year by clicking the link below and clicking on “See more” under The Story).
I was actually looking forward to the tune-up so that I could get a feel for where I am at this point. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with my time. I only shaved off five minutes from last year’s time, so I threw myself a pitty party. However, after the backlash I received from co-workers, fellow BGR trainees and actually the whole world, the party’s over. I was reprimanded with niceties like - “If someone told me I had 18 days to run 18 miles, I still couldn’t do it,” - “I refuse to attend this lame party. Me and my buddy Get Over Yourself called our friend Stop Trippin’ and we are not coming.” and “ONLY 5 minutes! That sounds like improvement to me. Please!”
So, after that beating, I had no choice but to get back into the game and thankfully, I feel better now.
Tomorrow we run the last seventeen miles of the marathon. Mercifully, tapering will begin soon, so I will get some rest then. Until then, it’s back to the pavement!
Again, thanks for taking this journey with me. I will be back in touch soon.
June 6, 2013
It's official: I have been accepted into the 2013 NYC Marathon!
I wish I could tell you that I’ve spent the past few months running like the wind. Unfortunately, I suffered a hamstring injury in February and have been sidelined. Although physical therapy has gotten me over the pain and keeps the hamstring in check, in some ways I feel like I’m starting all over. The human body, however, is amazing. It forgets things like the pain of childbirth (no one with a memory of it would do that twice) but remembers your last best run. So, the good news is that my legs remember running a 10 minute race pace; the bad news is that the rest of my body doesn’t have the endurance and stamina to keep up. Consequently, my focus now is on strength training and getting back into “runner’s shape.”
With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to my first challenging race in about four months. It’s a 10k on Saturday and should give me a good indication of where I stand physically. I also start my official BGR marathon training program on June 22nd and am really looking forward to running over every bridge connected to the island of Manhattan again J.
I am also pleased to announce that we have two converts. One of the gentlemen from my church is training for a half marathon in September and one of my sorority sisters will be running in the Marathon as well. Both are first timers. Isn’t that fantastic!
Thanks again for all of your support and prayers and for continuing this journey with me.
We’ll talk soon,
I pray that you are all well and surviving the aftermath of the hurricane.
This is not quite the update I thought I was going to write today, but, as I always say: “It is, what it is.”
Many of you have asked me how I feel about the marathon being cancelled. Of course I’m saddened, but whatever angst I may feel pales in comparison to the devastation so many have endured over the past week and unfortunately, may continue to endure. Despite my disappointment though, I am truly grateful for a myriad of things that were born out of this experience:
1) Together WE raised over $5,000 for the Women’s Sports Foundation and will personally be responsible for getting girls and women active; so for that, I’m grateful.
2) Many of you have told me that my journey has inspired you to run, walk, go to the gym or do whatever works to get you off the couch; so for that, I’m grateful.
3) As some of you know, Charles goes to the gym nearly every day. About 2 years ago, Ryan asked me, “Mommy, what gym do you go to?” Translation: how come you don’t do anything active? Now, one of her “dress up” outfits includes running pants and a gym bag. Seeing me run seems to have instilled in her the need to be active; so for that, I’m grateful.
4) I feel great, got myself in better shape and lost quite a bit of weight (ladies, you know we’d endure just about anything if the end result is the loss of a few pounds); so for that, I’m grateful.
And rest assured, I WILL be running in the 2013 NYC Marathon! So, I can’t complain.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support, donations and encouragement. This has been a wonderful experience and I feel blessed that you shared it with me.
See you on the pavement!!!
10 Days to go!
As you know, we are tapering (scaling back on mileage, workouts, etc.), so I was able to take a break in training to attend the Women’s Sports Foundation Dinner. It was, as usual, a grand event. It’s a wonderful celebration of the accomplishments of women in sports and of course, it’s always a pleasure to be in the company of WSF founder and legend Billie Jean King (see photo). She is such an inspiration and even after breaking so many barriers and creating countless opportunities for women, not just in sports, she still continues to (seemingly effortlessly I might add) be a champion for social change and equality. Her spirit is infectious and being in her presence makes you want to stand up and yell, “what can I do, what can I do to advance the cause of women!”
At the beginning of the program, about 30 female Olympians appeared on stage wearing their medals from the London Games. As you know, women stole the show during the Olympics (i.e., only two countries won as many gold medals as the 29 earned by the US women) and seeing them on stage sporting their medals was quite a powerful moment (see photo). Through funding from the WSF Travel & Training Program – which provides direct financial assistance to serious female athletes for coaching, specialized training, equipment, athletic attire, and/or travel – 31 of the female athletes that competed in the London Games won 8 medals. So the WSF is indeed helping women athletes achieve their dreams.
We also got a chance to meet Sportswoman of the Year Award/Individual Sport, Gabby Douglas (see photo). What a poised young woman with such great talent! I got a little teary eyed thinking of how proud her mom must be.
All in all, it was a great night, but the work of the Foundation is year round. So please make a donation so that the WSF can continue to keep girls and women active!
20 days and counting!
Yesterday was my last long run before the Big Day. I ran in the Grete Great Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I fared well and although I don’t feel like doing a Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch, I’m happy to report that I don’t feel like this lady either .
To give you some perspective, I ran my first timed race on November 20, 2011. It was quite possibly the longest 4 miles I have ever encountered and it took me over 53 minutes to complete. That equated to a 13:21 minute per mile pace. Yesterday, however, I finished 13.1 miles in 2hrs, 21 minutes at a 10:45 minute pace. Now before you get the calculator out and come up with the notion that this means I should finish the marathon in less than 5 hours, keep in mind that I don’t know if I can sustain a 10 minute pace for 26.2 miles: there’s A LOT of real estate between 13 and 26 miles.
After the race I ran an additional 7 miles to give me a 20 mile run. That’s the most I will run before hitting the marathon course. Going forward, we will be tapering. Tapering is the training phase right before a long distance event when runners cut back on mileage. It typically starts 2-3 weeks before the big race. The theory is that this reduced training gives you a chance to rest, recover, repair any damage encountered during training and mentally prepare for the race. Whatever the rationale, I’m just glad we are in taper mode.
On Wednesday I will attend the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute to Women. It’s a fabulous event and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. While it is no secret that this marathon has added a new dimension to my life, I am really running to help raise needed funds for the WSF so that we keep girls and women active. Your donations help to get girls active and involved in sports today so that they build self-confidence, learn teamwork, and develop the decision making skills that will help them become better leaders tomorrow. So thank you to those who have made a donation. I know you all are intending to do so, you were just waiting for my next update to remind you :)!
Will catch up again soon,
October 4, 2012
With only 30 days, 20 hours and 8 minutes to marathon tip-off, I am now focusing on logistics. My gear checklist is coming together (shoes, socks, etc.), I know what nutrients I will be taking along and transportation is coming together. Here’s where you come in.
Many of you have told me that you will be cheering along the route. Please let me know where you intend to be and please be specific. Just saying that you will be in Brooklyn may cause me to spend 13 miles of the run looking for you. However, saying that you plan to be on the NW corner of say Fulton and Lafayette will help me narrow it down a bit.
Also, we ran about 14 miles of the course on Saturday, so I now have a general idea of where I may need some extra help along the way. If you are willing to be wherever I may need you, please let me know that as well.
Here’s to the countdown!!
September 26, 2012
Sorry for the long update, but we have a lot to talk about.
The 18 Mile Tune-Up was Sunday and to sum it up: “wow.”
To start, let me give you a few visuals (literally and figuratively). My new marathon page photo was taken right after the race (that’s longtime friend and inspiration Sharon with me). We look pretty good, right? Well, fast forward to Monday afternoon. I dropped my earring on the floor in my office and after staring at it for a few minutes, I said goodbye to it and accepted the fact that the evening cleanup crew was going to vacuum it up. No way was I even going to attempt to bend down to retrieve that thing. Mercifully, Latoya pitied me and picked it up.
Before the race, I couldn’t understand why everyone kept saying, “If you can run the 18 mile tune-up, you can run the marathon.” I kept thinking: that simply cannot be true because there are still 8.2 more miles to go in the marathon and 8.2 miles is ALOT of running. “Are these people crazy???” Now, however, although not completely convinced, I understand a little better.
First, 3 loops of Central Park is absolutely brutal! The entire West side of the Park is a series of 4/5 hills, one right after the other and, of course, there’s Harlem Hill which is straight uphill for a third of a mile. The East side is slightly flatter, but it boasts Cat Hill which is a monster. So after a loop or two of that torture, the last thing you want to do is run it for a third time. By then, you’d pay almost anything for a change of scenery and I think that’s when the mental fortitude stuff starts to kick in. Second, the Tune-Up is a timed race and no matter how much you decide beforehand to pace yourself or tell yourself that you’re going to take it easy, the competitor in you wants to do well. Every runner, no matter how long they’ve been at this, watches their pace times like a hawk. There’s an inclination to push hard and I was no exception. Consequently, if you can run those hills at race pace, you have probably built up something close to marathon endurance.
The first 2 miles were as usual, pretty tough. You know, the customary lamenting about why in the world you put yourself through this, etc. Once I got past mile 3, I was determined to see how long I could continue to run without stopping. I did just that (even ran through the water stations) until I “hit the wall” at mile 9. I was spent at that point and really began to question how I was going to run ANOTHER 9 miles. But about half a mile later, trainer extraordinaire, Jaz (aka angel #1), who was on the sidelines cheering us on, saw me and ran onto the course to tell me that I was running too fast. She ran with me for about a quarter mile and brought me back to a pace I could sustain…..at least for a while. After that, I was ok until mile 15. When I got to the water station there, before I knew it, I yelled out, “Come Lord Jesus, take me in!” Apparently I wasn’t the only person feeling like that because a few other runners yelled “yeah” and threw their fists in the air. I felt like the Pied Piper with people running behind me yelling “let’s go.”
At mile 17 I was ready to pack it in and decided to walk the rest of the way, but before I could stop, angel #2, Novella from my BGR training group, appeared. We started running together and just kept encouraging each other to press to the end. When we saw the finish line, we got a last burst and ran home. It’s an interesting phenomenon because no matter how exhausted you are, when you see the finish line, you start sprinting like someone is giving away free Beyoncé tickets on the other side.
A few aches, pains and blisters later, I feel ok. This has been quite a journey so far and I truly thank you for sharing it with me. We have 8.2 miles to go in less than 6 weeks, so let’s hunker down and keep on going….upward!
I received my Bib number and start time, so it’s REALLY official: I am running the NYC Marathon! The magnitude of this thing is beginning to sink in and, yes, I am getting a bit nervous.
In any case, my Bib # is 68510, but don’t bother looking for me on TV at the start of the race. The folks at the beginning will be across the finish line and celebrating victory in Manhattan before I even leave Staten Island. My “wave” doesn’t start until 10:55 and being a first timer, I have no idea how long it will take me to complete the course. At this point, my only goals are to 1) finish before they allow the cars back on the streets and 2) finish in relatively decent shape.
In addition to my regular training regimen, I am running in an 18 mile Marathon Tune-Up on September 23rd. The Tune-Up involves running the 6 mile, rolling hills loop of Central Park - 3 times. Besides being an insane thing to do, it’s supposed to provide great training as well as provide an indication of your marathon “readiness.” So, please pray that I fare well!
As always, thanks for your continued support. I will be back in touch after the Tune-Up.
At this point in training, weekend “long runs” are well over 10 miles. Unfortunately, Jaz (trainer extraordinaire) is obsessed with bridges. A couple of weeks ago, we started on 23rd & Madison, headed down 1st Avenue to the Williamsburg Bridge, ran over and back 1+1/2 times (you recall that these bridges are all uphill both ways), then over to the Manhattan Bridge where we had the pleasure of going over and back 1+1/2 times for a total of 10.5 miles. This past week, she wanted us to enjoy New York Summer Streets (the City shuts down 7 miles of streets for folks to play, run, walk and bike) so we only went over the Queensboro Bridge and back once. All toll we clocked somewhere between 11 and 12 miles.
Please don’t tell Jaz, but all things considered, it wasn’t THAT bad. I felt pretty good during the run and even after, I felt as if I could have gone a little longer. I can’t say that I am ready for 26.2 miles yet, but I am beginning to see the benefits of all this training.
As I think back to my first long run (15k) on April 1st, I am also reminded of just how far I’ve come in a somewhat relatively short period of time. Some of you may recall that day:
Mile 1 - "What possessed me to do this...have I lost my mind?"
Mile 2 - There's the exit from Central Park that is only 8 blocks from my house. I could end this now!
Mile 3 - A little strategically placed R. Kelly on the ipod ("Thoia Thoing", "Ignition") giving me a little second wind.
Mile 4 - "Where you at Lord, Jesus?"
Mile 5 - More real estate behind me than in front of me.
Mile 6 - My legs - "We thu...you on your own"
Mile 7 - "Who put that big ol' wall in the middle of Central Park"
Mile 8 - "Praise Him...only 1.3 miles to go!"
Mile 9 - "In the name of Jesus, why are these people torturing me by putting up the 9 mile sign and I got .3 miles to go AND I can’t see the finish line?"
Finish Line - "Hallelujah...thank you Jesus...bless His wonderful Name!!!!"
So, the fact that I can now actually make it to 9 miles without collapsing is overwhelming. Let’s just hope the next 9 go this well! :)
July 20, 2012
Training is coming along well. However, the heat has been an unwelcomed addition to the equation. Last Saturday I ran a 4 mile race and could barely get through the first 2 miles. At the start of the race it was 85◦ (felt like 95) and I am convinced that the sun decided to hang directly over Central Park just for us. The highlight of my week, however, was the 1600 meter sprint repeats we did at run clinic Tuesday in 93 degree heat: can’t wait to see what Jaz has in store for us next week.
Saturdays are designated for long runs, so I am running in the Boomer’s Run to Breathe 10k (and then continuing on to complete 9-10 miles) tomorrow. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Friday night plans, but I am praying that this rain continues right to the start. Please have pity on us and join me.
Until next time, thanks for the continued support and prayers. And oh, I am beginning to sense that there are runners among you just waiting to get out, so if you ever want to join me in a light or EZ run, just holla!!!
I started my 20 week training program (BGR Pace 4 Success) this week, led by trainer extraordinaire Jasmine Graham. Silly me, I thought we were just going to “run”. Not so! The program consists of all types of run clinics, strength training, and the like. So far this week, we ran to Queens from Central Park (across the Queensboro Bridge, which by the way is indeed like our parents used to say - “uphill both ways”), had a Bootcamp (using your own body weight as resistance, free weights, medicine balls, etc. to build strength, flexibility and muscular endurance ….aka…torture) on Monday to fulfill the strength requirement, had a run clinic consisting of 4 – 800 meter sprints, you know, to get those muscles that we don’t normally use moving, and tonight I am off to another Bootcamp.
Although sore in places that I didn’t even know existed before, I am thrilled to be training and even more thrilled that this first week is almost over.
Thanks for your continued support and don’t forget those prayers!
May 11, 2012
It's official, I will be running in the 2012 NYC Marathon!!
As many of you know, I decided on a whim last November to "get off the couch and run a marathon." That has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I am now proud to not only run for my own edification, but to also help raise money for the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF), an organization dear to my heart.
The WSF was founded by Billie Jean King in 1974 and continues today to help advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. I know firsthand the power that sports have to instill higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression in girls and women. Sport is where our children learn about teamwork, goal setting and the pursuit of excellence.
The Women’s Sports Foundation provides scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes, funds groundbreaking research and public awareness campaigns, organizes “Go Girl Girl” programs in cities across the country and advocates for equal opportunity for our daughters to play sports so they, too, can derive the psychological, physiological, sociological and economic benefits of sports participation.
So please join me in my efforts by supporting the Women's Sports Foundation and PRAYING for me!