Thursday, October 20, 2011

76 Days 7 hours 45 minutes and 46 seconds

As I write this, there are 76 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds and counting until the Walt Disney Marathon is here! I cant imagine how emotional it will be, to be there running with so many others. Last weekend, I was emotional at the start of the race, looking at the 3,000 other people eagerly awaiting the gun to go off. Disney will be even more of an emotional hurdle, not to mention a physical one. I got choked up along the route seeing those who were running for loved ones they lost, as well as those who were running with handicaps such as one leg. It reminded me of course, of my father, who I hoped was proud with each step I took. I couldn't help but think of those children I work with during the summer, who will never get the chance to run because of physical  limitations. While I ran, I thought of these things  and in a sense ran for them. The way you feel when you run, the strength and determination is indescribable. During the race, I remained as positive as possible, keeping my spirits high pushing myself forward. I thought of my Uncle Phil's ( a marathon finisher) positive words and faith in me, I talked to my dad and I prayed to God for strength when I felt my knees start to weaken and my bones get weary. I thought of friends along the course when passing specific landmarks and all the while really tried to take in the experience of the race. I know my past few posts have referenced the half marathon and I am sure some of you wish I would just pick a new topic already, but there is just so much emotion and pride involved in a race of that nature that each day when I think about it, I have more things to share. That being said, the finest part of the race was seeing my cousin run past me during the last leg. I had looked for her along the course to no avail. When I saw her, I was instantly overcome with happiness. For one, it gets lonely out there running and for another I was so overcome with pride for her. There she was, running her ass off down the boardwalk. She was going to run 13 miles and I was so proud. So proud. Its funny, while you run, its easy to be in awe of the others around you overcoming obstacles and moving forward. Its easy to forget about yourself. You forget that you too are running the same distance, feeling the same pride and pain. I know that when I run Disney, seeing my mom, brother and aunt Shelly along the race course is going to be enough to make me cry as well as keep going. I hope that I can steal a glance at my cousin and Hans too, because its so incredible watching them succeed at something none of us ever thought we would or could do. I cannot wait to experience the thrill of racing again and the immense sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing. Above all, I cant wait to cross the finish, and see everyone who was cheering me on and believing in me every step of the way. Tonight, I bought my ticket to Florida. Its getting real, coming fast and going to be the experience of a lifetime! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fauja Singh and Babies on Board

Inspiration comes in all different shapes and sizes. Recently, I read an article about a 27 year old woman, Amber Miller who has ran 8 marathons to date. What makes her so special you ask? She was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant when she ran her last marathon! Not only did Miller finish the race, but she went into labor during and gave birth shortly after completing it! Talk about dedication. Fauja Singh is a name that not many people have heard of. If you have heard of him, you know that he is the oldest person to have ever completed a marathon. In a mere 8 hours and 25 minutes Singh crossed the finish line. He has run 8 marathons to date, the first at age 69. On Sunday, he earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for oldest marathoner. There you have it, its never too late to start running wether you are 100 or pregnant and ready to give birth. Keep living the dream. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wherever you go, go with your whole heart

I've always viewed runners as a particularly special breed of person. Aside from the usual stereo type of super skinny, fast and motivated I have noticed that they are extremely welcoming, enthusiastic and supportive. At the local running stores, I am always welcomed into their world with tips, running knowledge and swag without feeling sub par even though the person helping me runs a 6 minute mile pace. At races, I am always thankful for those runners who finish before me and take the time to pay it back and cheer for those of us who are not quite done. Ask any runner and they will tell you, when times get tough, seeing someone cheering you on and believing in you, even if its a stranger can make a world of difference, giving you that extra burst of energy to make it to the finish. No matter who I talk to, one thing we can all agree on is the welcoming and helpful persona of runners. Always willing to help someone out and give them advice or hope when they need it most. The past two days have been truly emotional for me. I have received so much inspiration and encouragement from so many people. Its amazing seeing that people actually read your blog, and even more amazing that people you have fallen out of touch with care enough to send you encouraging words, showing that they are proud of your accomplishments. I have said it a million times and I will say it again, running is for anyone and anyone can do it. For me, its given me a renewed sense of self and a way to make goals and meet them just me against myself. Although its not for everyone, its something special to me that is different everytime I do it. Even now, as a novice runner I smile every time I see someone running outside. There is just something about it thats like nothing else. Get out and run, jog, crawl. Wherever you go, go with your whole heart. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

1/2 Marathon Complete!

Race Shirt

Bib Number

Before the race

Nicole the 5 hour Marathon Pacer and Halloween Enthusiast 

Mission Complete

Amanda after her finish

Jackie after her finish

Jac running to the finish

almost there! 

As I lay in bed waiting for Real Housewives to begin, I am wretching around trying to abate the pain in my legs and let my muscles relax. Let me take you back to where this story of my first half marathon began....Last week, I had such anxiety for my race this weekend, and before I knew it, it crept up and It was here. I woke up early this morning with my cousin and Hans and shoved down a bagel laden with peanut butter. It was difficult to eat that early and with such raging nerves, but it worked out and the bagel stayed down so it was a win. We arrived at Bally's casino in Atlantic City and were met with 3,000 other people who were racing. The energy was electric. We lined up, said goodbye to Hans ( he was further in the front of the pack) and waited to run through the starting line. As we turned the corner to begin on the road, we were on the boardwalk and could see a sea of people running down onto the street. It was such an awesome sight, I wish I would have known to be ready to take a picture. Running was easy the first few miles since the energy was contagious. We proceeded to the bay side of the city, and I couldn't help but think of Sara and Jackie as we passed the Borgata, and Melissa's Bachelorette when we ran past Harrah's. Around mile 5 The Eye of the Tiger came on my I pod and I was running at my max speed. Something about Rocky really hits home. haha. By the time we ran past the Marina, I was shoving Gu  Jelly Beans down my throat for energy. We eventually made it back to the boardwalk where the real fight began. Running, into the wind with sand in my mouth with 6 miles to go. Luckily, there was no real signage on the boardwalk and it was difficult to know how far I had gone. At one point I saw a 6 mile sign and knew it must have been for the 10k runners cause there was no way in hell I was at mile 6. I ran keeping the focus on myself, and finally saw my cousin. It was uplifting to see her and I gave her a high 5 and watched her head for the finish. I continued on to the turn around point and was relieved that I was closing in on the finish. I made friends with another runner and we helped each other make it to the finish and through the final grueling 1/2 mile. As I ran to the finish, I saw Amanda and Hans and was so excited to get my free beer I ran as fast as I could. It was amazing crossing the finish and such a great accomplishment. I was proud of myself that I ran the entire time, didn't die and finished with a smile on my face. We immediately hit up the free ice cream truck and got our beers and soft pretzels. I am so proud of my cousin and Hans and all of the runners who were out there today. Overall, it was a great experience and I am looking forward to the next one. I am eager for Luisa to run her Miami Beach half and get that bad ass vampire medal! Get it Girl. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Atlantic City Bound

Gearing up to go to Atlantic City to run the 1/2 marathon tomorrow morning. Right now I am feeling nervous but also excited. I am looking forward to the sports expo today and dinner tonight with my cousin and Hans. Although I will admit that I am quite nervous, I really have nothing to lose. You cant let fear stop you from doing something. I am going to work hard to keep the gremlins of doubt out of my mind today and tomorrow and do the best that I can. Jen always says, don't worrying about the finish, because you will always finish a race. Its just a matter of making it to the finish line. Hopefully this will be a catalyst to want to step up training for the full 26.2 which is months away at the happiest place on earth :) Until tomorrow! xoxo

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Peace in a praying mantis or maybe its a grasshopper...

Today I walked after school with Lauren through the parkway. I finally got my I run working on my phone and mapped out a 5miler to run at some point this week. Although mildly sore, it feels good to be back out on the trails running and working on getting closer to my goals. Today was a nice break from the hills and bugs from yesterday. During the middle of my work day, i started looking for a sign for which direction to take things with work and life and general. Lately, work has been draining and exhausting. After walking with Lauren I came home to the largest and most exotic creature, albeit a praying mantis. It was huge and although he didn't stay around very long, he offered me a sense of peace after a hectic day.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.Gandhi

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Are Always To Believe The Best And Not Assume The Worst.

Its funny how sometimes you can be taken back in time from a familiar scent or a deja vu feeling. Today while running hill sprints with Jen, a flood of familiarity came over me. It came in the form of sucking wind, vertically, until my lungs felt like they were going to burst. I had memories of running sprints in middle and high school from lacrosse and softball. It was the same feeling of pain, same smell of being out doors and the same suffering that only comes from pushing yourself as hard as possible before you make progress. Heading up around hill #4 I got an unwanted surprise. As I ran, ( mouth wide open I am sure) I ate a bug. If you know me you can imagine the gagging that ensued. I almost threw up, I was screaming, spitting and gagging up the hill. Jen yelled at me to not throw up, and of course wanting to please her I did the only thing I could think of, I swallowed. I didnt even stop. I knew she was suprised. I was too.  It was by far, the most disgusting and vile thing that happened today. haha. We also made friends with some boxers who were training on the same hill. One was pulling a 45 pound weight up and then back down, I of course told him he should be running the hill, not walking. He laughed in my face. They did however offer us the use of their work out ropes which I would have loved to use but Jen said no break and thought I was just trying to distract her ( I was). My old trainer Chrissy would have made those men cry with her mad rope skills. I wanted to give them a go, maybe next time. After the hill sprints we did plyometrics and Jen realized I can hardly skip as I have no natural rhythm. If Chrissy is reading this, she can attest to that! I am sure she remembers showing me exercises 5 times and I still couldn't get it right. haha. I have to thank my family especially, my cousin Amanda, my mom, brother, Hans and my aunt Gail and uncle Phil for sending me immense love the past few days and words of encouragement. Thank you for your kind words and inspiration. It doesn't go unnoticed. I appreciate it all. Aunt Gail, Thank you for my new mantra, " We are always to believe the best and not assume the worst". Your faith in me, keeps me going when times get tough. xoxo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today I remained true to my word and got out there again to run and rebuild from last time. My best friend Sara came to visit me tonight and I made sure I ran before she got here. She was more then accommodating so it worked out and I was able to have a great time with her after my workout. Today, I ran the parkway like before but this time I was met with a plethora of wildlife. I saw a few chipmunks and even an overweight groundhog that scared me while it waddled through my direct path. At one point, I passed a rather large leaf that I kicked with my foot and swore it was a snake. Luckily, I kept running and didn't slow down to make sure it wasn't alive. I am pretty sure it was a leaf, at least I hope it was. Today was a fair run, it felt good to be out there and doing what I love, minus the knee pain. I even passed a few of the runners who saw my breakdown last week and they were met with surprise to see me moving along with, wait for it.... NO TEARS. Tomorrow coach Jen has me running hills at my own demented request. I am looking forward to it! I would like to thank everyone for their love and support after my running low last week. It means a lot to know everyone is behind me. I love you all. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lets get honest, refresh and re motivate.

Its amazing how time moves forward with no regard for those of us who make plans and try to do it all. It seems that in a blink of an eye, Summer came and went leaving us with a new September start. Between back to school, weddings and everyday life I woke up this morning with a scary realization that its already October. I love all things Fall especially the changing of the seasons and Halloween. Aside, from my love for this time of year, I've been noticing that recently something has been happening. My motivation and self esteem for running was vanishing. Flash back to last week. After work I found myself in the parkway getting ready for a run. Hans was going to show me his 5miler loop and I started out happily next to him. Somewhere along the route, I started to bash myself. I told myself I wasn't good enough, fast enough or worthy enough to be out there. My inner thoughts that should have been uplifting were horribly miserable and depressing. I was letting doubt creep in. Its a scary thing, running. Its just you against yourself and if you let the doubt it, it can go down hill quickly. I tried to push it out, and ignore it but I let it in and it was too late. I started to cry, which while running makes it hard to breathe. I stopped, and  sobbed on the side of the river. High school track teams passed in horror, sneaking glances at the psycho having a nervous breakdown on the side of the path. Friendly couples kept their distance and urged their dogs to stay by their sides to not get too close to the crazy crying woman that was before them. Hans   came back for me. I could tell by the look on his face that he was disappointed. I hate letting people down, and I hate putting pressure on myself. So here I was, crying for no good reason except that I thought I wasn't good enough. I let doubt in and had the nerve to believe my negative thoughts to the point that I stopped running. I yelled at Hans and told him to leave me alone, which he did. I cried some more, ran for a while and then got angry when it started to rain. It was far from a  good day. In fact, it was most likely the worst day of running I've historically had. So why even re hash it? Somehow somewhere along the way, Ive lost faith in myself and the real reason that I am running. In two weeks I am running 13.1 miles. I need all the faith and motivation I can get. Not too far from now, it will be 26.2. Its going to be me against myself out there. Nothing but Jackie. I am using this breakdown as a step to get back out, back up and keep going. Recently, my good friend Melissa got married and I had the pleasure of being in the wedding party. As a gift, we each received a necklace with a word from the dictionary. Mine was motivation. It couldn't have come at a better time. When I wear it, I feel stronger and it is a gentle reminder that I am blessed to have amazing family and friends that support me. They want me to succeed and make it to the finish. It couldn't have come at a better time.  Tonight, I am downloading new running songs and hitting it hard this week. Time to dig deep, find that motivation. ( oh and no more crying in public)