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Best 2013 Race Photo

1 Jan
My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

My training partner, Beth, and me at the end of the 2013 Chicago Marathon

I rarely purchase race photos because of their ridiculously high prices. However, this photo perfectly captured how great my training partner, Beth, and I felt when we crossed the finish line of the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Anyone that has worked with me in the past (one particular high-five-loving colleague in particular) knows that I much rather prefer a laid-back fist pump to the overly happy high five. Let’s just blame this one on my having just run for 26.2. miles.

This photo made a perfect gift for Beth this Christmas and I printed out a copy for myself as well. Whenever things get tough in 2014, I want to remember how hard I worked to balance all of the demands of 2013 … and how great it felt to cross that finish line.

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Me Next Sunday

4 Oct

BuzzFeed has summed up nicely the eight stages that my training partner Beth and I will likely go through next Sunday while running the Chicago Marathon. Yeah, I’d say this about covers it.

Boston

17 Apr

If you’re like me, Monday started off like any other day. I woke up, wished the weekend wasn’t over already, got ready for work, made a breakfast smoothie and headed off to work. I intended to try and catch some of the Boston Marathon footage during lunch, but a busy Monday made me completely forget about it.

I had just returned to my desk in the afternoon when a co-worker asked if I knew anyone running the Boston Marathon. I had a quick moment where I kicked myself for forgetting to watch. Then she said the most ludicrous thing.

“Have you heard anything about the bombing at the finish line? My husband just sent me a picture he saw on Twitter.”

I jumped up and went to her computer and looked at the picture. Surely this was not real. Instead of looking at a finish line of a marathon, full of supporters cheering and people running their final steps of a long race, I was seeing what looked like a war zone.

“This has to be a hoax. Is it anywhere on the news?”

Another co-worker had been listening to us and the three of us jumped on our computers to search. I googled for news on the Boston Marathon … Nothing. I hit up the new websites like CNN.com … Nothing. And just as I was logging on to Twitter to search #bostonmarathon, my co-workers were doing the same.

Immediately my Twitter feed was full of images that I wish I could erase from my memory forever. To keep from crying I told myself it wasn’t real. Surely these were extras from an epic war movie.

Shortly after, the news sites started to report on the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line. (Side note: This isn’t the first time that I’ve gotten breaking news from social media, rather than the actual news. Oh how times have changed.) I had so much work to do, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the coverage.

Like many runners, this attack felt so personal. Not only did I run my first two marathons last year, but I have stood at the end of countless marathons to cheer on my friends for doing the unimaginable for many of us: running 26.2 miles.

But here I sat, trying to process a very different kind of unimaginable. And I couldn’t help but place myself there as I easily could’ve been one of those standing at the finish line, waiting for a loved one to cross that finish line.

It’s been two days and I’m still sorting and working through all of my emotions of anger towards the attacker(s), sympathy for the victims and their families, pride for the acts of heroism I keep seeing all over the news and even fear for I too am running a major city race this year: the Chicago Marathon. And as a believer in God, I am praying. I am praying for the strength in all of us … to let the good outweigh the bad … and most importantly for healing.

A blogger I follow tweeted a link to a piece titled “The People Who Watch Marathons” by Erin Gloria Ryan yesterday. It’s beautifully written and I encourage you to read it in full. But my favorite part was the last paragraph:

One of the many puzzling aspects of yesterday’s attacks was the question of what, exactly, the perpetrators thought they’d accomplish by targeting what basically amounts to a celebration of human tenacity. If anything, the tragedy in Boston will further solidify the bond between runner and spectator. And when the Chicago marathon happens this October, I’ll show up to run harder, and they’ll show up to cheer louder. If anyone thought this attack would discourage the runners or the watchers, they’ve clearly never been to a marathon.

Yesterday morning I put on my running shoes and ran with my friend Beth early in the morning. It was a somber run, full of reflection. We pushed ourselves, I think because we could. We will be running the Chicago Marathon together in October. And we are going to show up and run harder.

I must be CRAZY. And I can’t wait to have a deep dish pizza.

19 Feb

I have undoubtedly lost my mind. However, it seems like the passing of nine months has allowed for me to forget the hell that was Marathon #1 and Marathon #2 and my stance of “only running half marathons for the rest of my life.”

Come this October, I will hopefully be celebrating the completion of Marathon #3 with a deep dish pizza, a chicago-style hotdog, or all of the above. If I’m really lucky, I’ll be sitting next to Oprah.

If you haven’t guessed it, I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 13th.

chicago_marathon_logo

Look out hot, steamy, muggy Florida summer training runs… here I come!

Ready to Run

30 Nov

Race mornings you’ll either find me tearing the house apart looking for some Shot Blocks or sitting calmly eating a bagel and waiting for my time to head out the door. I can never predict if I’ll be a frantic mess or a zen being ready to run, so I try to prepare myself as best I can ahead of time.

First, I like to start with a little list making:

Yes, I remind myself to check the weather.

Yes, I remind myself to check the weather.

There have been a couple of times that I’ve ran out of the house dressed for the wrong race. If my house is hot, I’ve assumed it’s hot out. If there’s a sprinkler on, I think it’s raining. So now I check the weather the night before and set out appropriate attire. By the way, tomorrow is going to be perrrrrfect at 7 AM.

orlando_half_weather

I picked up my bib earlier today at Track Shack. I managed to sign up early enough to get my name of my bib. And check out that nice low, even number. This must mean good things lie ahead, right?

orlando_half_bib

I picked up my favorite local pre-race dinner on my way home from work: the baked chicken entree from Black Bean Deli. It comes with yellow rice, black beans and a small salad. It’s a giant serving so I’ll only eat 1/2 of it. When I posted my dinner choice on Facebook and friend joked that they certainly wouldn’t want to run behind me. Silly boy, doesn’t he know I’m Puerto Rican? Beans are like water to me. Seriously though, if anything were to happen to me while running this half, I want to know that I left this great world with rice and beans in me. 🙂

Afterwards I stopped and picked up one bagel from the Publix bakery for my breakfast in the AM. Yes, ONE bagel. We don’t buy bread for the house any more because we don’t eat it much, so if I bought an entire pack of bagels it would go to waste. I know this because I’ve wasted many a pack of bagels.

Next I came home and tossed my running clothes in the washer and started to plug in all of my electronic devices. My iPod Shuffle is charging and my Garmin is plugged in as I type. My running belt, sunnies, sunblock and earbuds are laying out so I don’t forget them.

And while I waited for D to get home so we could have dinner, I ate a fortune cookie from last night’s Chinese dinner.

Orlando_half_fortune

This is so perfect in so many ways.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to cross that start line and do just that: what I can, with what I have, where I am.

Good luck tomorrow to all my fellow runners of the Orlando Half Marathon!

Shiny New Running Outfit

2 May

There are only four days until the Flying Pig Marathon and my emotions are everywhere. One minute I’m excited, and the other I’m so nervous because of this IT band issue. Excited is currently winning out and I think it’s because of this:

My new Lululemon marathon top

Yuppers, I got myself the Lululemon no limits tank in hot, hot pink for marathon day. I ran my first marathon in a no limits tank (in a different color) and had absolutely zero issues with chafing or the shirt riding up so I think I’m safe running in the same top without having actually taken it for a long test run. I will, however, wash the shirt so I don’t bleed hot pink (though that may be cool). I think the color is perfect for Flying Pig, don’t you think?

A couple of weeks ago I got the crops in the photo. They are the run: a marathon crop, also from Lululemon. I’ve done a couple of runs in them (one long run and one short) and they were great: the bottoms of the legs didn’t ride up and the top is higher wasted and didn’t ride down. And they passed the very-important-for-all-tights-bend-over test (when I bend over the pant does NOT get transparent). Perfect!

On a side note, it will be toasty on Sunday:

Expected weather for 2012 Flying Pig Marathon

However, I can’t run in shorts. My lovely Spanish thighs engulf shorts and I end up chafing and pulling my shorts down all run. So that’s why I’m usually in tights (unless it’s my Lululemon running skirt that I can use for anything shorter than 10 miles). It’s a good thing that my shirt opens up on the sides for some fresh air. 🙂

Yesterday I read this post by Meghann of Meals and Miles and it made me chuckle. I am in complete agreement with her when she wrote “I’m a big believer that a big race deserves a new outfit, sorta like a big date requires a new dress – am I wrong?” Nope, not wrong at all.

If you’re running your first half or full marathon, I would recommend you buy your new outfit a month before your race and wear it during a shorter long run. If it passes the test (no chafing, riding up, etc.) then wear it for your longest run. It’s amazing how a few miles can alter the wear of your running outfit. For example, I have a singlet that I wore in different colors for all three of my half marathons without any problems. However, when I wore one of them for an 18-mile run, I was surprised to see severe chafing on the inside of my arms. It was so bad I was bleeding! Needless to say, those are now restricted to runs 13 miles or shorter.

I consider this running outfit quite the splurge, but I’ve worked hard the last four months (and seven months before that training for Disney) and I like that I’m at a place where I can reward my hard work with a splurge like this. In my future I’ll have kids and a home to worry about and these days will be long gone. I’ll enjoy it while I can!

What do you do for your race-day running attire? 


Yesterday morning I went for a 3-mile walk with Emily, one of my group leaders. She’s running Flying Pig with me so it was nice to catch up and do some race day strategizing. Afterwards I rushed home to start my day with some yoga. I took it easy with this Yoga Vibes class, focusing on the outer hip and IT band.

Four days until the Flying Pig Marathon!

Dance Marathon

29 Apr

Saturday morning I ran ten miles. According to my right IT band, that was about four miles too many.

I woke up at the awful hour of 4:30 AM, tossed on my running clothes and headed to the kitchen for a quick pre-run breakfast. Due to a lack of planning, here’s what I ended up with:

The Real Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast pretty much went like this: one bite of banana followed with a lick of peanut butter from a spoon and repeat. I learned this nasty (yet delicious) habit from my gluten-sensitive boyfriend, who gave up bread late last year. The fortune cookie was not a part of my breakfast, rather it was remnants of my pre-run dinner, chicken lo mein.

Our group was extra small this week (there were only three of us). We took off on a 10-mile loop.

Less than five miles into the run, I started to feel that familiar IT band nagging me. Around mile six I tightened the straps on my knee (I had two IT straps on one leg). That surprisingly relieved the pain for a mile or two. I managed to make it the entire 10 miles, but not without wondering how in the world I could do another 16.2 miles like that.

Here are the stats from our run:

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Time: 02:10:13
  • Avg Pace: 13:01/mile

I’m going to stick to strength training and yoga for taper this week and rest my leg. I’m also going to ice my leg three times a day, and foam roll my legs and hips twice a day. In fact, I’m icing as I type. My leg is mighty chilly.

Healing feels like a full-time job sometimes. Let’s hope this does the trick, or I may have to reconsider switching to the half marathon, which I really don’t want to do.

Last week a friend sent me a link to the video below. Not long afterwards, I tried to dance walk across 17-92 on our way to get coffee. However, I stopped when my co-workers shunned me. I’m now considering dance walking (or running) all 26.2 miles of the Flying Pig Marathon.