Saturday, August 29, 2009

About 1/5 of the way in

Today was our second team workout. 7:30am per usual. Hoo-ray.

Despite the overcast skies, it was comfortable training weather. Not too hot and not raining, though the humidity certainly wasn't doing anyone any favors.

We ran North Central Rail Trail, which apparently used to be part of the railroad system and goes all the way up to York, Pa. (A 20 mile run, which I will be working up to prior to the marathon. Hoo-ray again.)

While half-marathoners completed 4 miles today, Kevin had those of us running the full complete 6 miles.

I'm pretty sure my heart dropped directly into my stomach after he made that announcement.

About half of the full marathon group keeps a 9min-mile pace and they were soon well out of sight. Meanwhile, I stayed back and practiced my makeshift Galloway method since I still need to by a running watch and timing with the clock on my cell phone proved a tad awkward.

Still, I was able to keep a good pace - roughly a 12min-mile, which was incredibly satisfying. Turns out that I can run a faster pace when I'm running in segements.

Granted, the boys cross country team that passed us mid-run, bounding like f*cking gazelles without breaking a sweat, didn't do much for my ego. Oh well. I'll leave those track events to the young.

I'm feeling exhilirated post-run. I've never run 6 miles before! I'm also feeling quite exhausted for pretty much the same reason.

Next weekend I'm in Pittsburgh, so I'll need to figure out a way to run 7 miles on my own. No small feat, believe me. I'll let you know how that test of personal will works out.

And thanks to everyone for the words of support!! Keep 'em coming - something tells I'm going to need it :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First week recap

So I've completed a little over a week of training and I thought I'd recap for everyone how things have gone thus far...

Actual Running: Turns out, I'm not as awful as I anticipated. I'm not the fastest by any means, but I'm also not the slowest. This is an unexpected blessing, as I've discovered that in order to compete in and complete the WDW Marathon you have to maintain a minimum 16mph walking pace for the entire event. Now, that doesn't sound like much, but 16mph can seem like Olympic time trial speeds after 26 miles. Right now I'm at something like a 14/15mph, which is sloooooow goings, but when I try to speed up my coach is right there to remind me that I'll be doing this for 6 or so hours, so keep it at a pace that won't cause my lung to burst.

Team Training: The first TnT training was actually pleasant. Not that I expected my teammates to be abominable, but I was worried about how I'd do on the track. Nothing like punking out on the first day. But all went well. Kevin (our coach) had us introduce ourselves to each other and then went over some basic stretches. Then it was onto some quick laps around the high school track we were using that day. 1/2mile of learning to pace myself, which is much easier when you have people to chat with while on the course. A quick break followed by more running - just another 1 1/2 miles - followed by Q&A. Kevin explained some various running methods and techniques (I quickly glommed onto the Galloway method of run/walking the event), as well as basics on hydration, calorie maintenance,
and running gear. There's a shoe clinic on Thursday that I'll have to miss because Lina can't take herself to the vet, now can she?

Saturday is the next team workout, and should prove more challenging. We'll be sharing the trail currently used by groups training for the October Baltimore Marathon. It'll definitely be more than 2 miles. Here's hoping I finish some time before Sunday.

Cross Training: Kevin is a big, big, big advocate of cross training at least twice a week to work out muscles that come in handy during endurance events (i.e., knees, back, abs - that sort of thing). I've been mixing it up with a Yoga-lates (it's a Pilates/yoga hybrid) and an exercise bike, which seems to be helping strengthen my knee, thank God. Unfortunately, I'm using the Hopkins gym for many of my workouts. It's not that the gym is sub-par; the gym itself is great. Plenty of workout options, including a climbing wall and an indoor track. Not-so-great are the television options in front of the machines, including the bike. This week I suffered through 4miles' worth of MTV's Next.

Has anyone ever watched this show? Contestants vie for the attention of one guy or gal by performing acts of what I can only politely describe as extreme public humiliation for a brief one-on-one date. It has this whole Roman amphitheater/gladiator v. lion quality to it, but with elements of speed dating thrown in for giggles. The episode I endured included a young man who really likes football, so his initial challenge for the interested ladies (the ones he didn't reject upon first viewing them) was to dress them up in super-padded football uniforms. The girl then had to run as fast as she could to make a touchdown before a K-9 unit police dog (a foaming-at-the-mouth German Shepherd) was released, with the directive to attack and tackle her.

I kid you not. The dog took out the first girl, which made the young man laugh so hard he nearly herniated something. ("That was fun...for me!" he cried out. Charming.) The second girl took one look at the dog and promptly turned around and ran back to the bus/makeshift green room holding the other contestants. The third girl made the touchdown, but was still tackled by the dog who proceeded to maul the back collar of her uniform. While she was still wearing it. Apparently Prince Charming thought this demonstrated her skill and commitment (and her seeming low standards) and they went on a one-on-one date that consisted of feeding each other nachos.

How is this entertaining again? Ladies, I have certainly made my share of questionable relationship decisions in the past, but I think I have enough sense to say that if the man you're interested in thinks that it's hysterical to watch you earn his approval by letting a member of a K-9 unit damn near rip your face off, just let him go, hon. Let him go.

More to update after Sunday. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

*Gulp* (and a shiny new car)

My first official team workout is this Saturday at 7:30am. I can barely make it out of bed by that time t make it to work, and I'm paid to do that shizz.

So far I've been working on fast walking my miles, since my last attempt at running really did a number on my knee. I'm hoping trainer Kevin will be able to show me the how-not-to-cripple-yourself method of finishing a marathon. (Apparently the run/walk method marathoners have made some excellent finish times.)

I'll let you know how well/laughable this turns out on Sunday.
FUNDRAISER UPDATE: LLS (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) is sponsoring a one time raffle with the following prizes!!

  1. A 2009 Lexus 250 (AWD) or $20,000 CASH
  2. $7,500 CASH
  3. $2,500 CASH
There are only 300 raffle tickets available, which means you've got pretty damn good odds at winning one of the prizes.

Tickets are $200 each. Half of the money goes towards my fund raising goal, but ALL of it goes to LLS and it's mission!

The drawing takes place Tuesday, September 22nd at 12th Annual Ruth's Chris Sizzling Celebrity Golf Classic for Leukemia

Ticket sales close soon, so contact me for more details!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Those for whom I run

While I'm running in memory of my godfather, Jim Meehan, and my cousin, Dr. Joseph Wiley, I'm also running for two young boys who are still alive and fighting their own battles with cancer here in Maryland.

Matthew Valenti was 2 years old when doctors determined that his severe anemia was a symptom of B-Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). Here's what Matt's dad has to say about his little guy:
Matthew spent almost a month at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The first week they gave him transfusions to get his blood count up and then he began the chemo treatments for the next couple of weeks. The chemo medicines hurt Matthew’s legs and joints and he couldn’t walk for a few weeks, but he hardly complained…he said, “Can you help me up this step? My legs feel a little wobbly”.

Oh, Matthew turned three years old on February 9th, 2007.

Matthew started the second phase of his treatment on April 23, 2007, which is called delayed induction (DI) and we hope he will be in long term maintenance by July of 2007. The DI is pretty difficult on everyone as Matthew won’t be able to leave the house except to go to the hospital until it is over.

When Matthew is stuck in the house, he loves to play with his older brothers, Jack and Zackary. They are a lot of fun and they really are a blessing with helping out, keeping Matthew in good spirits and occupied His brothers are very good lacrosse players and are teaching Matthew to play; he can cradle and shoot the ball already (he loves to score goals). Matthew’s most favorite things are his matchbox cars and playing with his Granddads.

I'm also running in honor of 19-year-old Justin Knight, who was also diagnosed with ALL at a young age. From age 6 to 9, Justin endured intense chemotherapy. Thankfully, Justin responded well to treatment, and recently celebrated 8 years of remission without chemotherapy in March.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Incentives & Garment Shopping

I'm slooowly working my way back to being regularly active. Mostly, this entails taking my butt out of my car and walking to and from work. It's about a mile each way, which is no small feat early in the morning. For me, at least - I'm not a morning person.

I'm also becoming accustomed to the fact that I need to invest in some quality gear. The shoes I've got - thanks to the kind folks at the Running Store in Georgetown, I found out that I over-pronate (i.e., I roll my feet when I walk). Thus, I ended up with a nice new pair of Asics. Now I just need to pick up the proper undergarments - the regular sports bras I've had since undergrad just aren't going to cut it - and I am set!

The Kick Off Breakfast where I get to meet the other runners and tri-athletes is a mere 2 weeks away. I cannot wait! I'm really looking forward to seeing who else is willing to sacrifice their weekends, shins and knees for a great cause.

Speaking of which, I've decided to up the ante for my donors!

Silver level donors ($100)
will receive an LLS Canvas Tote Bag!

Gold level donors ($250)
will receive a TnT Duffle Bag!

Remember to spread the word!

Orlando Run: 150 days and counting...