The Recap I Never Wrote

It’s no great secret that I get bogged down with school in the month of October. A month I love for the change in weather, leaves, and general pace of the city is now known as The Month of Midterms.

Fall used to be such a peaceful time of year...

Fall used to be such a peaceful time of year…

This year was something special because we were required to take special certification test in September that has made the entirety of this Fall semester feel like a never-ending exam schedule. No wonder I never wrote a recap about my September half marathon.

The Hamptons Marathon in September was supposed to be my triumphant 10th marathon. I trained all Summer, dutifully completing my workouts and sticking to a strength training routine at Refine, logging long runs on the weekends killer workouts during the week. I hit my highest training mileage in August with 64 miles in one week.

beast-mode-switch

Nothing special, but lots of running for me.

I was determined to PR at this race and was on track in every single run to do so. I even had Birdie signed up to rabbit my race and get me to that finish line. Alas, it was not to be come race day.

I’m no stranger to having to pull out of races completely, but this would be the first time I would have to drop down mid-race because my body just couldn’t take it.

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To be fair, I knew this was going to happen about two weeks before the race. Despite my pouch holding up AMAZINGLY throughout most of training, there are totally unpredictable circumstances that just sneak up and make it impossible to push.

What can you do?

Birdie still ran with me and we still had a fun trip out East, eating Two Boots pizza in the car while JB drove the expressway. Thank goodness JB, GB, and some of our friends came out to cheer. It was a huge boost mid-race.

Yes, we wore matching outfits. We were totally the coolest kids in the race.

Yes, we wore matching outfits. We were totally the coolest kids in the race. (Picture courtesy of GB)

The race itself, however, sucked.

  1. The man announcing the race was mean and nasty and left every runner within ear shot irritated right from the start of the race. His exact words right before the gun went off, “If you have a full marathon bib (me) and are dropping down to the half (me), DON’T EVEN THINK OF COMING CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE. We will NOT let you cross it.” I mean, seriously?!?! Get a grip, dude.
  2. The course was not closed to cars.
  3. We ran on the main road (Montauk Highway) and there were no cones to block the cars from riding up right behind or beside us.
  4. Birdie and I almost got hit by two cars trying to navigate the road and the runners.
  5. The cops did nothing, NOTHING to protect the runners from the traffic.

The pre-race number pick-up was fine, the finish line food included chocolate milk (yum), and the course was good, but that definitely didn’t make up for the unsafe course and nasty race announcer.

Tried to smile through the near-death car accidents.

Tried to smile through the near-death car accidents.

Needless to say that in spite of the convenience of this race, I will not be doing it again unless they can guarantee the safety of the runners by closing off part of Montauk Highway or at least making the course more visible to cars by adding cones along the entirety of the race.

I’m sure there was a part of me that was bummed when I knew I wouldn’t be running the full after all that training, but that fleeing moment was erased as I high-fived myself for surviving training, being able to run my fastest training runs, and getting into all-around awesome shape after everything my poor little body has been through.

Finish line!!!!!

Finish line!!!!!

And still rocking 1:43 in a half-marathon. 3 minutes off my PR. Not too shabby, body.

I mean, HELL, I am STILL running and feeling awesome, my body is 100% in working order. How awesome is THAT?!?!!!!!

So, that was the Hamptons Marathon/Half Marathon.

Did anyone else run this race? What were your thoughts? Are you planning on running it next Fall? Is this typical for a small town race? Am I being a prima donna? You can tell me.

Now go out and run.

PS. I contacted the race directors about the issues I had with their race and their response was basically, “Eh, too bad. Nothing we can do about the cars and the announcer was just insistent.” Excellent PR. Really, stellar job.

A to Z

I couldn’t write yesterday because I only had one thing on my mind and I didn’t want to pollute this happy little blog with it so I just didn’t write.

Today is a new day and, in light of my story being recently featured in Psychology Today last week (hello new readers!), I decided to take part in this A to Z About Me Q and A.

A to Z

A. Attached or single?

Attached now for 9 years. And it keeps getting better.

Our wedding was SO FUN!

Our wedding was SO FUN!
(Image courtesy of elisabethmilay.com)

B. Best friend?

JB. The Obi-wans. My 4 sibs and Chi-Chi.

C. Cake or pie?

Hmmm…gotta be really great cake (like from SugarSweet Sunshine or Alice’s Tea Cup) but I’m also a big fan of both Cherry and Apple pie. Why choose just one?

D. Day of choice?

Friday. Always happy for the weekend and it’s Date Night.

E. Essential item?

Beauty: Mascara. Clothing: Perfect jeans. Workout: Chafe-free shorts.

F. Favorite color?

Pink.

"Pink is my signature color."

“Pink is my signature color.”

G. Gummy bears or worms?

Neither. Twizzlers or Snickers, please.

H. Home town?

Born in Glen Ridge, NJ. Lisle and Woodridge, IL for childhood.

I. Favorite indulgence?

Great Jones Spa facial.

J. January or July?

January. Everything feels new in January.

K. Kids?

Love ‘em.

L. Life isn’t complete without?

Snuggling next to my man and taking a nap after a long run on a Saturday morning.

No husband? Give me all the pillows then.

No husband? Give me all the pillows then.

M. Marriage date?

11/13/09

N. Number of brothers/sisters?

2 sisters, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, 2 brothers-in-law, and one special significant other.

O. Oranges or Apples?

Oranges. When they’re perfect, they’re delicious.

P. Phobias?

I don’t like snakes, but I don’t think that’s a phobia. They’re just creepy.

Q. Quotes?

“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill

…in that vein: “If you just keep going, eventually you’ll get to the finish line.” ~me

R. Reasons to smile?

My gorgeous niece. Flower deliveries. Dates with friends. Too many reasons, really.

S. Season of choice?

Fall. Fall in New York City is magical.

T. Tag 5 People.

Jesica, Tina, Kristin, Jenny, Hillary, BethMichelle…but really, everyone should if they have lost their will to write or need to get their writing mojo back (ahem, Sara).

I want all my friends to do it!

I want all my friends to do it!

U. Unknown fact about me?

I can only crack my middle fingers on each hand.

V. Vegetable?

Before J-pouch: raw green beans. After J-pouch: sautéed zucchini.

W. Worst habit?

Being late/loud.

X. X-Ray or ultrasound?

Ultrasound cuz it’s more than a diagnostic tool. It can treat, diagnose, and image.

Dr. Abby says, "When in doubt, ULTRASOUND!"

Dr. Abby says, “When in doubt, ULTRASOUND!”

Y. Your favorite food?

Sugar cookies. And Two Boots Pizza.

A Monster after my own heart.

A Monster after my own heart.

Z. Zodiac sign?

Gemini. Totally a Gemini.

You can do this survey too! Pingback, tag, or Tweet me if you do. I want to get to know YOU better!

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Weight

Guys, I’m in midterm week month, so blogs may be shorter or non-existent until things settle down over here in Crazy Town. But it’s Tuesday so let’s not forget why it’s good to be here instead of the alternative.

Weight.

It’s become a nasty word in the world these days, wouldn’t you say?

Gaining weight. Weight of the world. Light-weight.

It’s not too long ago that the word weight carried a negative connotation to me as well. Yet recently, I’ve begun to embrace it.

What is weight to you? (Image courtesy of shutterstock.com)

What is weight to you?

There is nothing more comforting or calming to me than to feel the weight of my husband against me.

A hug, a hand, or when he is recruited to be my blanket because I just can’t get warm enough in the winter. I breathe easier, my heart rate slows down, and I almost always fall asleep.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

Something about the weight of my hand in his.

When I was recovering from surgery, it was all about the weight. Was I eating? Was it leaving me properly in my new device? Too fast? Too slow? Was I gaining weight?

Despite one person’s comment that my 20 pound weight loss was (after a 5-day hospital stay and one organ removed) “looking good” on me, gaining weight was a top priority post-op. Both times post-op, actually.

GI surgery means things get scary in that world and weight gain = success!!! Normally a dirty phrase in my world, I was thrilled to see the scale headed back toward my normal.

I was healthy again. Weight was a good thing.

Feels good to be healthy again.

Feels good to be healthy again.

And there is nothing in the world that feels better than having the weight of a baby on your shoulder as you rock her to sleep.

My sister-in-law was always asking if it was too much for me to have her lying on me or if she was heavy in my arms. Heavy? Psh. Weight is no matter when my little Peanut needs to be rocked to sleep. I shooed her away and held Peanut as long as I possibly could.

Like Obi-wan says, there is no house so peaceful as the house of a newborn baby.

I don’t mind feeling the weight anymore. It reminds me to be calm, to be grateful, to be present. And that’s certainly Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Sunrise

Happy Better Than the Alternative Tuesday, friends! I barely make it through Mondays this semester. 10+ hours of sitting in class feels like a death march. My brain hurts, my body hurts, and by the the end of the day, I don’t even want dinner.

I know. Shocking. I don’t want food? Something is deeply, deeply wrong with Mondays.

Pizza lasts exactly one day in my apartment.

Pizza lasts exactly one day in my apartment.

Not even pizza sounds good, just sleep.

And then I woke up this morning and went for a run. It wasn’t a good run, I felt like crap. I was hungry (duh), tired, and even though I was trucking along at 8:15s most of the 7 miles, I felt like I was running through mud.

But I saw this on my run. This Sunrise over The Lake and Bow Bridge.

Good morning, my beautiful Park.

Good morning, my beautiful Park.

It didn’t change my pace or give me the energy to run faster, but just seeing this beautiful Sunrise was reward enough for getting up early.

When I was chained to the bed recovering in the hospital, I was on the 14th floor overlooking the East River. When the sun rose the day after surgery, I couldn’t help but to breath deep (as deep as my stitches would allow) and appreciate seeing that Sunrise.

It wasn't a sunny morning and the view wasn't even that great, but it was a sunrise I worried I wouldn't see.

It wasn’t a sunny morning and the view wasn’t even that great, but it was a sunrise I worried I wouldn’t see. And there was pudding.

Anyone who goes into surgery and tells you they aren’t scared is…not me. I was scared both times. Terrified, actually.

That Sunrise meant I made it through the operation. That Sunrise meant I got through a horrific night of pain. That Sunrise meant that Mrs. Obi-wan and JB would soon be by my side, keeping me from freaking out.

It wasn’t pretty, it didn’t have to be, it was just a new day and a new life starting.

My 2nd surgery sunrise was far more spectacular. Same floor, same hospital, same staff (oy), different facing bed. Different perspective.

My 2nd surgery Sunrise was far more spectacular. Same floor, same hospital, same staff (oy), different facing bed. Different perspective.

That’s what I like about running at Sunrise. It’s the ultimate symbol of a new day starting.

Just because today’s run was crap doesn’t mean tomorrow’s will be. Just because I’m dragging ass this morning doesn’t mean I will tomorrow. Just because my J-pouch hated me yesterday doesn’t mean it won’t love on me today.

Sunrise is my favorite symbol of starting over and the opportunity to do something different. I know it’s obvious and trite and cheesy, but it’s true.

Sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

Sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

 

When I woke up from surgery, I was a new me and it was a new day. Those Sunrises were a new start to me. And they certainly made it better to be here, to wake up, to keep going, than not to. And I love that about those Sunrises and every Sunrise I get to see.

Happy BTAT, guys. What does Sunrise mean to you? Does it get you going or is it something you rarely see? Are you more of a sunset kind of person? Tell me all about it!

Now go out and run!

(I mean, it’s 40 degrees out there, NYers! Heat wave!)

 

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Naysayers

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: A day when we share why it’s better to be here, not matter what kinda crap we got going on, than to not be here. A day to reflect on the fact that life is awesome and I, for one, am glad to to be here.

Naysayer: nay·say·er (\ˈnā-ˌsā-ər, -ˌser\) one who denies, refuses, opposes, or is skeptical or cynical about something.

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Five or six years ago I was with extended family, sharing my new goal of going back to school to become a physical therapist. I had a long road ahead of me, pre-reqs and GREs and hoops to jump through and all, but I was excited to finally find what I wanted to be when I grow up!

And this one Naysayer just kept shooting me down.

“It’s a really competitive field.”

“Those classes are really hard to get through as an adult.”

“So-and-so didn’t get into this-other-medical-school, you probably won’t get into NYU.”

All from the same person. The same Naysayer. It got me so down about my choice. In fact, this was what I’d been telling myself for years. It’s too hard. You’re not smart enough. There’s no way they’d want you. Finally I’d got the guts to say it out loud and here was a Naysayer trying to put me down before I even go going.

photo-9JB, the Obi-wans, and my closest friends didn’t let me give up on my dream. And here I am. At NYU. Kicking butts. Taking names.

There was another Naysayer who (still) cannot believe I’m not working as a personal trainer for the money and, instead, putting money into my education. I can’t. I just CAN’T even begin to tell you how frustrating THAT conversation is for me.

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Naysayers can get you down. They get me down sometimes, too. But they can also be fuel for your Fire of Awesomeness. Naysayers are often people who are not living the life they want to live. (These Naysayers certainly weren’t/aren’t) and they just loooooove dragging others down to their unhappy level.

You know what, thank you, Naysayers. You have given me the opportunity (more than once!) to say, “TOLD YOU I COULD DO IT!!!”

If that’s not a reason it’s better to be here than not, I don’t know what is. Happy BTAT, friends. Haters gonna hate, you keep on rocking.

Now go out and run!