Friday, December 10, 2010
I found out I was pregnant back in July. While this is an exciting time for us, I have a pretty complicated pregnancy history and one that does not allow me to run. And this go around is even more complicated as I'm pregnant with twins. While I was able to keep coaching my groups, I wasn't able to run with them.
About half-way through this last group (at the end of October), I had some complications and went on bed rest. Everything is all right now, but I wasn't able to continue to physically coach my group through the end of their program. Needless to say, I was heartbroken that I couldn't see them finish not only their program but their first 5K race. I had a lot of wonderful people helping me with the program, so they weren't on their own and all of them finished the program and their race beautifully.
I continued to coach them as much as possible through email. I often have clients from around the country that I coach "virtually," so this was not a foreign concept to me. But I still felt terribly and I felt I was somehow letting them down. I know that life happens and certain things are out of control and my health and that of my babies is the top priority. Still, when you spend much of your time helping others reach their goals and suddenly you are not physically there for them, it is hard. For beginning runners, this running thing can be scary, intimidating, overwhelming, you name it. And I love helping them get through it, sometimes physically holding their hands through it. So many people try to run on their own and they fail. And they never get to experience that feeling of exhilaration of crossing a finish line or running a certain distance. I feel so honored to be able to do that with others. The people I coach are like my little chicks and I get to see them grow and get strong enough to fly on their own. It's an amazing experience.
What I wasn't prepared for was the outpouring of love and support from the participants in the group. I guess when you're usually the one being supportive you aren't used to people supporting you. The running shoe was definitely on the other foot. I had people from my group bring my family dinners, books for me to read, etc. It has meant so much to me to have that support.
Earlier this week we held a dinner for all the participants of all my running programs from 2010. I was given the green light from my doctor to attend as long as I didn't move around too much. I cannot tell you how much of a boost it was to see everyone again. To hear their stories about how they are still running, looking to try new things, new goals, new distances. It was a wonderful evening and it really meant so much to be there.
What I'm trying to say is 'thank you' to all the people who have sent their words of love and support my way. It has meant the world to me. It's hard sometimes to except the fact that you need help and support from others, especially when you're used to being there for others.
I cannot wait until the next program begins and I can be with a whole new crop of runners-to-be. I love ya!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Most of the 24 people on the teams knew each other from the Sargeant's Program they do in Rockville. They ran this relay last year, when it was in its first year, and had so much fun they needed to do it again. A few of their team members were not able to do it this year, so they had a few openings. I was brought in through my friend Connie, who was brought in through her friend Dave. Connie and I didn't know anyone (other than her friend Dave) and we both were a little apprehensive. Two days in a van with people you don't know could very well be a nightmare.
We met everyone for the first time about 2 weeks before the relay. All of our doubts were dashed as we really liked everyone. They welcomed us newbies (there were others as well) with open arms (literally) and we felt part of the group from the get-go.
Fast forward 2 weeks. We met in the parking lot of the Rockville Community Center on Thursday night, April 23rd. We loaded our van and headed on to Gettysburg. Though we stopped on the way to pick up a roof-rack storage bag. We made it to Gettysburg and met the rest of the teams for dinner. We all toasted to a fun relay in the days ahead.
The hotel we stayed at, America's Best Value, was exactly as it sounds. It was kind of dumpy with retro style (really, they have really just not redecorated since 1972) but the staff was nice and we were only going to be there for 12 hours, so it didn't matter.
What did matter was the other guests of the hotel. Appently there was a Greyhound dog convention of sorts and this hotel was hosting quite a few attendees. It stank. The dogs barked. And we weren't happy. I'll never look at a Greyhound the same way.
We were up early Friday morning to have a last minute team meeting and load the vans. I was in Van 2 of the Krybaby team. In our van, we had Fabi, Eric, Connie, Dave and me. We had another runner, Purley, who had to drive up on his own and didn't actually come into our van. I don't know how we would have fit him because we took advantage of that extra space. After the vans were packed, we headed to the start.
Because we were certain we'd come in last, or very close to it, we had a 7:00 AM start time on Friday. The race organizers' hopes were that, by staggering the start times and having slower teams start earlier, everyone would finish around the same time. We started with one other team (America the Bootyful...who turned out to be sandbaggers. They totally smoked the field).
After the start, we headed back to the doghouse hotel, checked out, decorated our van and headed to the hand off between our first van and us.
Waiting was really the hardest part for me. So, we started at 7:00AM on Friday but with me being number 11 of 12 runners, I didn't actually until 5:00. I had 2 TBDs for my first leg. The first half I ran with Dee, a chemistry professor up in NJ. And the next half I ran with Keith, who is a lawyer here in Olney. We ran across the Mason and Dixon line from Pennsylvania into Maryland. It was cool crossing the line, which was over a bridge, but then we had run up a gigantic hill. That wasn't cool. But getting to know Keith and Dee was great.
After my leg I really earned my place in the group. This group is an awesome group of wise-cracking, chop-busting, fun people. So, as we were driving to the next spot to pick up our last runner, we passed some women that looked like they could use some water. I had a water bottle and I wasn't sure if one of the girls was coming to the car and there were cars behind us so we couldn't stop. Well, I didn't know what to do so I threw the bottle. I didn't anyone but with this group, by the end of the weekend, I had pegged the girl in the head with a water bottle that had knives coming out of it, she fell into a ditch and had to be retrieved. It was pretty hysterical.
After our team was finished, we camped out at this high school in Smithsburg, MD. Some spouses of runners on our teams met us there and cooked for us. Oh, it was an awesome meal of grilled chicken (yes, they brought their grill) pasta and salad. It was fantastic and other teams were walking by drooling.
It was our van's turn to start running, but not before we were able to get some massages. That's right! Another spouse is a massage therapist and met us and gave us all 15-minute massages. Heavenly. I was able to get a few hours of sleep after that!
Time to run again. Time being 3:28 AM to be exact. My next TBD was Gary and Gary loved hills. Good thing too because we had to run through Antietam National Battleground and cemetary. At 3:30 in the morning. It was misty and eerie and incredibly hilly. But Gary is a riot and we had a good time. He kicked those hills out.
After our last runner finished their second leg, we were lucky enough to camp out at the house of one of our van captain's friends. We were in West Virginia and they had a great lawn that we were able to camp in and a bathroom and shower we could use. A few of us decided to sleep in the van because Eric snored like a chainsaw the whole time. But we got some sleep and enjoyed awesome food and coffee the next morning.
From West Virginia, it was onto Dickerson, MD which is actually not too far from where I live. We were meeting up with our first van and the place was a mad house. The port-o-johns were hideous and it was getting to that point where we just wanted to be done. We devised a plan to have all of our remaining legs running simultaneously so we could finish at a reasonable hour. Because our team captains have a good relationship with the race organizers, and we were in no way in contention for any prize (other than being the slowest team), it didn't matter. So, off we all went to our last legs.
My last leg began in Glen Echo, near Bethesda, along the C & O canal towpath. Nice and flat. The first part of the leg I ran with Kay, who was the other team captian. She was my team's (the Krybabies) captain. Kay is an awesome woman. Great stories and a great outlook on life. My second TBD for my last leg was Jorge. I was glad about this because I hadn't had a chance to talk to him much at all and we had a good talk. He's a cool, funny dude.
We finished in Georgetown, DC and our last runners took off. We all went to the finish and the party started while we were waiting. Lots of beers and dancing. We waited for our last runners and then when we saw them, we all ran together crossing the finish line together. That was awesome.
Really, this was one of the best running experiences I've ever had. I met and became part of a great group of people. I can't wait to do it again!! I felt like I had been a part of the group for years and it was such a wonderful feeling. These people really know how to show a girl a good time!
Me and my TBDs: to my left is Jorge, then Gary, Dee, Kay and Keith. Thanks guys for not leaving me alone out there!
The following days were interesting. I was in a relay fog for probably the week following. I slept most of the following day and took a lot of naps the week after. It took a long time for me to recover! And I was to run the Frederick Marathon the following week but decided after about 2 miles into that it just wasn't going to happen. I was tired and it was so hot and humid that I was already feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Not a good sign. So with major disappointment, I bailed. This is definitely for another post, but I was having major abdominal problems at the time too. I had the beginning of an ulcer and was in a bad way. But that's all under control, and like I said, will be another post shortly.
Anyway, I highly recommend doing a relay. As long as your teammates are fun and you get along well, there's no way you can't have a good time. That's what running is all about, right?
To see more of my pictures, check out my Facebook page.
Friday, June 18, 2010
- Ran the National Marathon
- Ran the Ukrops Monument 10K in Richmond
- Ran the inaugral 13.1 series half marathon in NYC
- Ran Cherry Blossom 10-miler
- Ran the American Odyssey Relay from Gettysburg, PA to Washington, DC (that will be a post soon)
- Tried to run the Frederick Marathon but bailed for several reasons (that will be a post soon)
- Coached 3 beginning 5K groups and getting ready to start group #4
- Coached Girls on The Run
- Ran Zooma Half Marathon
- Did my day job. Did my side job.
- All this in addition to being a wife and mom!
Needless to say, it's been hectic. But it's been fun too. And...needless to say, I'm taking some time off from racing. I will be taking the summer off and maybe do a short race here and there. It's now my husband's turn to race as he did the Air Force Cycling Classic last weekend and is doing the DC Triathlon last weekend. He did a few half marathons already this year but his focus is going to be another half Ironman in the fall.
Stay tuned for more! And as always....
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Next Saturday I'm running the Myrtle Beach Marathon. I'm super excited.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Last week I had the distinct pleasure to read Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back From The Dead by Brian Boyle. I read it for a couple of reasons. I first heard about Brian back in 2007 when he completed the Ironman World Championships in Kona. His story captivated me and when I heard he put out a book, I got in touch with him. He's doing an appearance and Fun Run with us at Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg this Thursday, January 7th. I had to read the book before I met him :)
Back to Brian's story. Back in 2004, a month after he graduated high school, Brian was in a horrific car accident that should have killed him. Technically it did kill him, he was pronounced dead 8 times. His injuries were so severe he was placed in a medically-induced coma for 2 months because he wouldn't have survived the pain from his injuries. His pelvis was broken, along with several other bones. But what was worse was the trauma his internal organs endured. Most of his organs were dislodged and moved, including his heart which was knocked across his chest. It's truly a miracle that he survived the crash.
After he came out of the coma, doctors thought he would be resigned to a life in assisted-living homes and certainly would never walk again. But Brian was an athlete at the time of the accident. He was a swimmer and bodybuilder, getting ready to swim at the collegiate level. He was in phenomenal shape and his mental and physical toughness really helped him in his rehabilitation. Not only was he able to regain his physical strength and abilities, he was able to live the active lifestyle he loved.
Three years after the accident, after his rehab was complete for the most part, Brian contacted the Ironman organization. A dream of his was to complete an Ironman, so when visiting the website one day he sent an email detailing his accident, recovery, rehabilitation and dream. The organization was so impressed with Brian's sure will to survive that they contacted him. They wanted to give Brian a media slot to compete at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. The catch was he had never done a triathlon before. So, he had to complete a Half Ironman first, then they would see if the full Ironman was doable. He was given about 2 weeks time to train for the Half Ironman. Two weeks. But he did it. It hurt, but this previously paralyzed guy finished a 70.3-mile race just over 3 years after his accident. The Ironman organization gave him a slot at Kona, which was 45 days after his Half Ironman. 45 days.
Well, Brian worked hard and was able to finish the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championships. In just over three years he went from a healthy, active 18 year old, to an accident victim with little hope of walking again, to an Ironman.
I think his story is extremely inspiring. And not because he fought hard and overcame odds that were against him. That's only part of his amazing story. Brian faced all of this with strength, courage and a tenacity that people in his situation rarely have. Yes, he did have dark moments and times when he wanted to give up. But for the most part, he gave it his all everyday with a smile on his face. He now lives his life to the fullest and in a way that appreciates every moment. He isn't boastful or conceited, though he is proud of his accomplishments. He is humble and modest and thankful that he has been given this second chance. He holds blood drives to raise awareness and support for the blood services industry that helped save his life. He supports the rescue teams that work tirelessly to help those in accidents like his. He still visits his doctors and nurses that cared for him and worked to save his life.
I'm inviting all Washington, DC-area runners to our Fun Run/Walk on Thursday at 6:30 PM. Brian will be there at 6:00 for a book signing and then we'll run at 6:30. This is a rain or shine event, so please plan on coming. Even if you don't run, you don't want to miss the opportunity to meet such an amazing person. If you're in need of some inspiration this New Year, Brian is it.