Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nike Women's Marathon 2010

It's been fun cruising YouTube looking for other people's video of their NWM run. I have two that are my favorite. I have one posted here. I'll post my other favorite later. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chicklit Challenge 2011

As if I didn't have enough to do in 2011, I signed up for the Chicklit Challenge. 12 books in a year which would be super easy if I didn't have a million other goals going on in 2011:

Train for and run second marathon for TNT
Make a million craft items to raise funds for cancer research
Finish writing my book
Redecorate the house
Spend more time on spiritual practices

Oh well, at least 2011 won't be boring!!! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quick Run

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Hopefully this is the start back into a running routine. Fell sick and not starting to feel better. YEah!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Part 12: The End is Near

Kirsten said, “Can you see the white tents up ahead?”

I looked ahead where she was pointing and all I could see were the backs of the people in front of me.

“Um no. Not yet.”

Kirsten is like a full foot taller than me. Lucky duck. She could see over the people’s heads to the tents in the finishing area. I however, could not.

“Well, they are just down there. You’re almost there!”

“Awesome! I just might make it!”

“You’ll make it! I’m going to take off and let you take it in. Good job! See you at the victory party!”

“Yeah. See you at the party. Thanks Kirsten!”

And off she went. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the victory party! I felt like as soon as I got off my feet, I wouldn’t get back on them again. But I’d figure it out.

“What?! You’re going to walk the last 3/8 of a mile???”

I looked over to my left. There was this guy talking to whom I guessed was his girlfriend. He was trying to get her to run the rest of the way in. I looked at her and it was obvious she gave it her best and was now just finishing by any means necessary. The last thing she needed to hear was ANYTHING other than, “You’re doing great! I am so proud of you! You are going to be so excited when you hit the finish!”

Because right now she was beyond the “Bite Me” zone. She was what I call “Spent Out Pissed!” or SOP for short. Spent Out Pissed is when you have worked so hard that you stopped having fun a long time ago. You have spent all your energy up to this point and much more. You are dragging in on energy credit and you are not looking forward to paying off the debt when you’re done. You are spent out and pissed about it!

You are no longer excited about the amazing feat you signed up for. You are no longer joyfully anticipating crossing the finish line. You are mad as hell (mostly at yourself for signing up for this) and anything said to you can only be taken in the worse possible way when you are in that state of mind.

I believe the boyfriend meant well and maybe was concerned she would be disappointed if she didn’t come in running. But I’m sorry to say, he was a complete idiot!!! Anyone, with a molecule of awareness could see she had no run in her. She was beat-up-whooped! She looked worse than the walking dead. Even zombies would have rejected her!

He kept trying to goad her on and another lady on the far side of the girl said, “She’s going to hit you.”

“She can hit me.” He replied.

Yep. Total idiot. He has no clue what is happening with her at that moment. If he really wanted to encourage her to go faster (which again was stupid. Just let her finish) he should have been using positive reinforcement.

When someone is in that state of mind, if someone says, “You don’t want to walk the last 3/8 do you?” all the SOP person hears is, “You’re not good enough. You should be going faster. What’s wrong with you?” and it just beats you down further and drains any hope for joy.

Stupid stupid stupid.

I wanted to say something to that effect to the guy. But a couple things kept me from it. One, I didn’t think he’d understand and two, I wasn’t sure I had the energy to do so. I felt terrible. But I just passed on by and worried about my own race. (Yes, she was going so slow that I  passed her)! I know she finished. I just wonder if he’s still her boyfriend.

To this day I wonder if I should have spoke up.

I was still joyfully anticipating the finish line. I was still in pain. But I was so happy I decided to do a marathon. I love endurance events and so far this had been the most exciting for me. Then as if it was the cherry on top of the sundae I saw coach April again!

I had seen her at around mile 11 and here see was by the finish. I love coach April! She always answers your questions thoroughly, is consistently encouraging and always always has a smile for you!

She flashed me one of her signature smiles and started walking with me. It seemed that the closer I got to the finish line, the faster I was walking. I told her I was already planning my strategy for next season (which was true) and babbled. But by now my mood was improving since the finish was now in site.

All of a sudden I saw Coach Jim heading away from the finish and looking like he was searching for someone. I thought that was funny since he usually had to look for me on the team runs. He was the full runners’ coach which means he couldn’t pack it in until all his runners were in. So he often had to wait for me to come in after everyone else.

(One day in training I had gotten on the course without him seeing me. So he didn’t know I was running that day. He saw me come in and was surprised! He thought all his runners were in and then here I come waddling in! Oops!) :)

So I looked over and yelled, “Hey coach! You lookin’ for me?”

He grinned his big grin, trotted over to me and said, “We’re all looking for you Jill!”

 “Am I the last one in as usual coach?”

“No. There’s lot’s behind you still.”

“Not runners.”

“Yeah, runners too.”

I didn’t believe him. There were a lot of people behind me. But I didn’t think any of my TNT Central Coast teammates were still behind me. But it was nice of him to say so just the same.

I had seen the sweep truck when I was at mile 23 or so. That’s at a point were the course doubles back on itself. So you are running out as the people behind you are running in. There the sweep truck was at about mile 17 or so. I was happy to see it still that far behind me! 

So there I was at the last quarter mile flanked by my two favorite coaches headed to the finish. I know we chatted and chatted. But I can’t remember a word of what was said. I just remember Coach April smiling and Coach Jim grinning. The only words I remember were when Coach Jim said, “Ok. There you go Jill. You take it from here.”


I looked up and we were at the start of the finish chute!!!!!!” The sky opened up and the angels started singing!

“Run it in!” Coach said.

I took off my jacket and held it in my head. I told the coaches, “No jacket for me. I have to make sure everyone can see my singlet. I got to represent for TNT!”

“That’s right!” Coach April called and off I ran!

I couldn’t feel any pain at all! I was in the chute! This was in-the-bag! Then I saw the pot holes. The road was soaking wet with standing puddles here and there as well as deep pot holes that were full of water. I had to be careful if I didn’t want to fall on my face in front of all these people!

There were hundreds of people standing out in the pouring rain on either side of the chute. All yelling and cheering! I heard “Run Jill Run!!!!” I looked over and there was this guy. I complete stranger. Leaning over the railing looking me square in the face, yelling again “RUN JILL RUN!!!” I did! I can’t tell you how being cheered so enthusiastically by people you don’t even know gives you energy to move!!! It was amazing!

I ran and tried to not slip or trip over the pot holed road while I scanned the crowd for Kris. I knew he was here somewhere and knowing him, he had secured a spot right on the railing somewhere. I just had to spot him.

I was more than halfway down the chute and was starting to worry Kris might not see me come in. Oh well. I knew we’d find each other. We had a meeting plan just in case this happened.

Then I spotted him! He was on the opposite side than I was. But we saw each other and I was so happy for him to see me not just on my feet but running. Especially since the last communication he had from me was that terrible text message at mile twenty five.

I was grinning ear to ear and the blue finish mats were coming right up! I prepared to obey racing commandment number 11: Thou shalt rock the finishing pose for the camera.

At the TNT training runs they make you practice a finishing pose as you come in from each run. Of course, I had to try a multitude of possibilities including the ever-popular “Saturday Night Fever” pose. But in the end I decided on the classic “Arms straight up in Victory” pose.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see where the cameras were. So I timed it a little too early and the camera caught me as my arms were coming back down. So it looks like I am coming in with my arms straight out in front of me. The rarely used “ Tank” pose. Ah well. Our finishing photos can’t all look like Joan Benoit’s! :) 

As I expected, I didn’t give any thought to which fireman I went to to get my necklace. I do remember mine was blond and the second one in. (I have his picture below. He’s the one on the left of the picture). I don’t know why I went to that fireman. I think he was just the closest when I was ready to get my necklace.

I love that NWM gives out a finisher’s necklace rather than the usual medal. I wear my necklace ever day and no one has said, “Gee Jill, don’t you think it’s a little vain to still be wearing your finisher’s medal everyday?? The marathon was like three weeks ago!"

And I do wear it......everyday! :) 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Part 11: Deep in the 'Bite Me' Zone & How One Piece of Licorice Saved My Life

I recognized that I had entered the bite me zone somewhere around mile 23. Actually, I’m sure I had entered the ‘bite me’ zone much earlier. But just didn’t recognize it until then.

At any rate, my legs were cramping worse than ever. I would stop all the time to stretch. But the stretching didn’t seem to help. So I tried to just ignore the cramping and just keep walking.

Other runners were in the same shape. Most of us were limping and so many were on the side of the road stretching too. I walked as long as I could without stretching. But my body started screaming at me. (I guess it got tired of me ignoring it’s grumblings. So it started full on yelling).

I needed to stop but there wasn’t any light posts or railings to lean against. So I kept walking. I knew there would be something soon. But there wasn’t. So I broke racing commandment # 10: Thou shalt not stop in the middle of the course.

If you have to stretch or stop for any reason, it is extremely bad form to stop in the middle of the course. If there is a fast runner behind you, you are asking for a collision. But I did it anyway.

And a TNT coach spotted me immediately and ran right over to me.

“How you doing? How you doing?”

“I really need to stretch but there’s no posts or anything.”

“Here, lean on me.” he said bending down so I could put my hand on his shoulder for balance.

I started stretching my quads, “I can not tell you how much I appreciate this. You are saving my life.”

“No problem,” he said.

“You want to hear something funny?”

“What’s that?”

“My knees are hurting and they never once hurt in training.”

“Well,” he replied, “You are running a marathon.”

That got a smile out of me.

I thanked him again and started back down the course. I realized I hadn’t ate or drank anything for at least an hour which I know wasn’t good. But I just couldn’t stomach the thought of eating or drinking. Even the kids at the water stations were getting on my nerves!!!! And they were just there to help.

I knew Kris was probably at the finish line now. He had sent me a text a while back to let me know the buses wouldn’t be getting him to any other point on the course. So he would have to meet me at the finish. We had planned to meet up at more places on the course but that wasn’t going to happen. I figured I should update him. I figured Cindy had already made it across by then too.

My last message was at mile 21 and Cindy wasn’t in yet. When I hit mile 24 I got a text from Kris saying Cindy still wasn’t in yet. Kris texted, “I think you can catch her. Run Jill Run!” I was amused at his enthusiasm. But at the same time I worried that Cindy was having a bad time of it too if she wasn’t in yet.

The weather kept deteriorating and by now it was dismal! Rain was falling in cold curtains. We were freezing. We did not train for cold ironically. We were so proud to have finished our 20 mile training run in 104 degree weather. Fat lot of good it was doing us now! That made me laugh!

When I finally got to mile 25 I sent another text to Kris. It was full of uncharacteristic profanities.  I’m sure he was relieved to know I was just past a mile out. But I’m sure my unusual attitude gave him pause for concern.

About this time, deep into the ‘bite me’ zone, I saw our mentor Kirsten standing along the sidelines done with her race. I love Kirsten. She is just neat neat neat. However at this moment I thought, “Oh look at Kirsten. The tall, skinny long legged blonde done with her race ages ago because running a marathon to her is like riding a bike around a block for me. I bet she got in before the rain even started! Lucky bitch. I HATE her!”

OMG! I knew it was the marathon brain talking. And the last thing I wanted was for Kirsten to see me in the ‘bite me’ zone. I really do love her. She was so encouraging during the training and always answered all my stupid e-mails and followed my blog and she is just the sweetest person you’d ever meet. And she’s fun! And she worked every bit as hard at each mile as any of us did on the marathon.  Oh and one more thing: Girl can run!!! She ran a negative split on her first marathon. Yes Kirsten...YOU ROCK!!!!

I wish I could be even half as cool as Kirsten. Not just as a runner but as a person too.
So while I was really happy to see her, I didn’t want my bad attitude to come out in front of her. So I did what I do best to cover it up; I babbled. I don’t remember everything I said. But I do remembering babbling on and on. I think I told her how much pain I was in. But assured her I was going to finish. And told her about the text I sent Kris which probably made him worry. And I was so so tired.

Then I hear “Run Jill Run!!” from the right side of the course. I turned to look and I saw a lady standing there. She had seen my singlet and was cheering me on. And she was holding in her outstretched hand a....bag....of......TWIZZLERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In mid-rant I exclaimed, “Is that licorice???!!!!!”

The nice lady nodded.

“Can I have one?????” I pleaded (though it was obvious she was giving them out)!

“Of course!”

I grabbed one piece and held it in both hands, “OOOOOHhhhhhh THANK YOU!”

I took a bite and was just in heaven!!! The pain lifted and I knew it was going to be easy going from here. And finally Kirsten could get a word in while my mouth was busy with the piece of licorice that saved my life

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Part 10: The Sufferfest Peaks

There is a term in endurance sports “Sufferfest”. Seems like an oxymoron as ‘fest’ implies some type of celebration or enjoyment. But it is paired with the word ‘suffer’ which has obvious meaning. But the endurance athlete is an odd one. For some reason, we enjoy the suffering....sort of.

A race is more satisfying the harder you have to work for it. It’s hard to explain it. My theory is that the endorphin rush is better the more you hurt. Maybe it’s some odd natural crack. Whatever.

I knew I had arrived at the sufferfest at mile 20. I actually SAT down! I was in so much pain I had to sit and take a load off my feet and legs in the hopes a little break would leave them refreshed.

I knew I would get back up. But unfortunately, when I did, I didn’t feel any relief. I reversed my ratio to 1:9 run: walk. But soon I just ignored the time all together and walked as fast as I could and shuffled for a few steps to try to break up the walking. The last 6.26 was going to be the longest 6.26 of my life.

The mile markers had stopped clicking by a long time ago. Now it seemed like hours between each one. I knew once I reached mile 24 I would feel better mentally because from then on it was down hill. But I was still looking for mile 21 and I had left mile 20, it seemed, hours before.

Finally, mile 21! Just one more mile until the rest stop that was giving out Ghirardelli chocolate. I tried to be excited about it. There was much excited talk about the chocolate mile before the race. But right now, I couldn’t care less! In fact, I felt a little sorry for the kids at that rest stop. They were trying to be so chipper and hand out some of the best chocolate in the world. But so many of us just ignored them.

The weather was worse and so many of us were hurting. I was reminded of the old zombie movies where everyone is spaced out and walking funny.

I remember mile 23 would never show up. The mile between 22 and 23 was the most painful and seemed to take the longest. A coach came up to me and started the assessment.

“How you doing?”

“I’m in pain. But I’ll make it. I’m just thinking how much worse it was doing a century. It’s worse when your butt is sore because you’ve been on a bike seat for five hours!”

“Well, it helps to think about which fireman you’re going to pick when you get to the finish.”

I had heard a lot of other women talk about which fireman they were going to pick at the finish. I didn’t get that. Who cares?!?! They all will be handsome and I was more interested in getting the necklace than looking at the firemen. Besides, with the way I was feeling at this point, I was sure the firemen would all look like blurs.

I was just going to head toward anyone holding a light blue Tiffany’s box! (I just hoped I could tell the difference between a fireman and another racer at that point. It wouldn’t be very sportsman-like to take the box away from another finisher! Oops!)

So I kept plugging away.

Somewhere between mile 23 and 24 two tears plumped up out of my eyes. First out of the right eye then out of the left. Plop. Plop.

What was that? Am I crying? I paused to make an assessment. Hhhm. No. I’m not crying. At least there’s no more tears.... Is there? .....Nope. That was it. Huh. Weird

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Part 9: Separate Ways

Some time around this point Cindy and I ran up against racing commandments 7 & 8: Thou shalt take from the end of the water line and Thou shalt not throw your cups on the ground.

At the water stops you will either find people standing in a line holding cups out, or cups lined up along a table ledge ready to grab. Especially, if you are a less experienced runner and take a little extra time to grab a cup, grab the very last cup on the far end. This way you do not slow down the line and make other runners wait behind you to get water. If you grab the farthest cup, you leave all the cups behind you available for the runners behind you also.

At every water stop there were multiple trash cans lined up after the stop so you could toss your cups when you were done. It is very important not to throw your cups on the road. If they are wax cups, it makes the road slick and runners can fall when they hit a waxy spot. If they are of the plastic variety they can also be slipped on. 

At this particular stop there were TWO rows of trash cans down the middle of the course.  So when the lady in front of us threw her cup on the ground Cindy exclaimed, “Hey, you’re not some hot shit elite runner that can throw your cup on the ground!”

I clipped back, “You’re right, if she was a hot shit runner she’d be able to make it in the trash can!”

The rain was getting heavier as we went and the air was getting colder. It took me a long time to realize the reason I was tiring out so much faster on this run than any of the training runs. First, it was a damn hilly course! Second, the cold sucks up your energy. When you are chilled, your body has to work harder to keep your core temp where it needs to be. Which zaps energy.

The cold has another sinister effect: it makes your muscles cramp.

Each step was getting more and more painful. Cindy looked over at me once and said, “You look like you’re in pain!”

I replied, “I am!”

There were TNT coaches strung along the whole course. There were from teams all over america (and Canada). Their job was to watch the runners and help anyone who asked for help or looked like they needed it.

After mile 16 I noticed the coaches started to run up to me and ask, “How you doing? How you doing?” They didn’t give Cindy the time of day. They could tell she was hanging strong. :)

I had this unreasonable fear that a coach would try to pull me off the course. Stupid I know. But every time I saw a coach up ahead, I’d smile and try to say something ‘happy’ to them so they wouldn’t think I was hurting.

Coaches will not pull you off the course because you are in pain. Pain if often a part of endurance sports and I already knew this. I expected to have to manage pain on the marathon. I was just really hoping not to have to deal with it until well after the 20 mile mark.

By mile 19 I knew I was going to have to ditch our 9:1 run:walk ratio for a lot more walking. It was time to have ‘the talk’ with Cindy.

Cindy my running partner is a much stronger runner than me. She runs a lot faster. Yet each training run we were both at she always ran with me at my pace. I never understood why she’d run with me when she could clear the courses so much faster. I didn’t mind at all. I always loved to run with her. My only concern was that she might not ‘ditch’ me in the marathon if we got to the point where she needed to.

In endurance sports, there comes a point where you and your partner have to split and finish the course separately. The only two times you wouldn’t do this is 1) if you made a pact to finish together or 2) if you can tell your partner will not make it in alive unless you drag them in. In that #2: “you never leave a [wo]man behind!!!!”

Cindy and I made no such pact. But since she had never left me during training I was worried she wouldn’t take off here either. I was convinced she needed to. She was tired and sore too. But she was in much better shape than I was. I knew she could go much faster and get off her feet sooner.

Racing Commandment #9: Know when to ‘stick’ or ‘Kick’

She had never ran a race before. To my knowledge she had no endurance sport experience before taking on the marathon training. Also, I don’t think she knew how much experience with endurance sports I’ve had. I had completed a century ride and several metrics and halves. I knew what I had to do to make it to the finish line. But I didn’t know if she was as confident in my ability. Besides, it was obvious I was in a lot of pain now.

“Cindy,” I said just as we passed mile 19, “We need to have a frank discussion.”

“Ok, let’s have a frank discussion,” Cindy replied.

“I can tell I’m going to have to walk a lot more coming up. If I were you, I’d ditch me. You can get in much faster than I can.”

“I’m fine.”

“I know you’re fine. But I am making it in. I have no doubt.”

“I know you’re making it in.” She said.

“I’m finishing even if you have to go on. I don’t want you to hang back with me because you’re afraid I won’t finish if you go on without me.”

“Oh I know you’re finishing this!” Cindy said this with so much conviction it took me back for a second.

“Good. So promise me you’ll take off when you need to because I’m going to have to start walking more.”

“I’m fine,” she said, “If I want to take off I will. But for now I’m fine like this.”

“Ok. As long as you promise me.” I was going to be pissed if she didn’t ditch me when she should.

That conversation ended at mile 19.5.

At the rest stop at mile 20 Cindy turned to me and said, “Ok, I’m taking off. See you at the finish!”

We gave each other a hug and off she went. I was so proud of her! I really was worried she wouldn’t leave me behind and miss her chance to run HER race. Now I could run MY race too. I couldn’t wait to find out when she came in.

But here at mile 20, I had to figure out what my race was going to look like from here on out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Part 8: "I'm so Fat!!" And other things you should never think when running a marathon!

There was a long down hill piece after the "Orange" hill. Running downhill is as difficult as running uphill. Gravity is working just as hard against your body on the downhill. It's just that instead of fighting gravity to go up; you fight against gravity from pulling you down ...too fast! It pounds your body hard.

The weather was getting colder and it was now sprinkling. The first elite runner just past us. She, of course, was FLYING!

At the bottom of the hill was the 10 mile rest stop. My legs were already feeling tight. Not fatigued. But I really needed to stretch. So Cindy and I decided to take our first significant break. We re-filled our water belts, stretched thoroughly and ate a salt packet. (Or as we call it; did a tequila shooter without the tequila). Yuck!

Then we were off again! My legs were not happy and we weren't even to the half way point yet!We were running through Golden Gate park by this time. I knew there were pro runners up ahead to cheer us amateurs on. But I got distracted from them.

Right at the corner up ahead was a gigantic video monitor. The sick race organizers set up a camera so you could see yourself running up the route, bigger than life. I watched it as I approached looking for my image. To my great dismay as soon as I saw myself I thought, "Oh my God! I'm a beach ball! Look at that; I'm huge!!"

What???!!! The second thought was [pardon the harsh language] "What the FUCK was that!?" I am running my first ever marathon. I've trained consistently HARD for months. I am more fit than I have ever been. I was completing a feat that less than 1% of humans will ever attempt and the first thought is I'm fat????!! That is just wrong! And it hurt!

How could I think that about a body that has never let me down. That keeps meeting every challenge I throw at it and does more than I ever thought it could, all while I don't always treat it as nice as I should. I should NOT be talking smack about that body!!! It just drove home how the bullshit you are fed all your life from society, family, 'friends', school mates, work acquaintances and everyone else gets ingrained in your psyche. You must actively reject those comments and messages otherwise it will fester in your dark places to spring out and take you down in your fragile moments.

I felt whipped and beaten down. That is the last damn thing I needed when I already felt discouraged because I was more tired at the 11 mile mark on this run than I ever was on any of the training runs. I needed encouragement and thoughts of "you are doing great!" "You have this in the bag!" Not this 'Oh look how fat you look!' bullshit!

Then I saw Kris.

He was standing on the left side of the trail smiling from ear to ear. When our eyes met he threw up his arms and yelled, "Yeah Jill!!!" And clapped his hands. I ran right to him and got a big hug just when I needed it.

"How you doing?" He asked.

"I'm real tired already. But I'll do it. I think if I can stick to the 9:1 ratio I'll make it in fine. But I'm TIRED already!"

"Well you look great! You seem strong!"

I can not tell you how much I love my husband!

I continued on through the park. Looking back, it seemed like we were in the park FOREVER! They run you from one side to the other and back! It was really hard running back along the route you just covered. You feel like you aren't really getting anywhere. But I kept telling myself every step was getting closer to 26.2. Doesn't matter if you're running in circles. You're still covering the miles.

Cindy and I kept at it. It started full-on raining rather than just sprinkles. All of a sudden, there was a big stream of runners joining us from the right off another trail. We figured out it was the half marathoners joining the main route after being diverted to a short cut. The split occurred around the 11 mile mark. They set up two separate lanes and the halfers go down one lane and the fulls in the other. I had mistakenly got in the wrong lane. But realized my mistake and quickly jumped back to the correct lane.

Kris told me later he saw me coming down the route in the half marathon lane and wondered what in the world made me change my mind about running the full. Then he said he could tell by my face when I realized my mistake and he saw me jump back into the full lane. I bet I looked pretty silly!

So the halfers were joining us now and I think Cindy and I both harbored a little jealousy toward them at that point in the race. We were feeling pretty rough by then and we were past the 15 mile mark at this point and still had more than 11 miles to go. These halfers were coming in looking fresh and happy with less than a mile left in their race. Bitches.

John Bingham during his inspiration speech told us about the 'bite me' zone. I think Cindy and I both got a short preview of it then. But honestly, we shook it off. We both knew we wouldn't be happy doing the half. We were in it for the long haul.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Part 7: And We're Off!

It was still dark out when us early start runners took off. It was nice running through the city at that hour. Though I couldn't say it was quiet. There were thousands of us just in the early start alone. But it was neat to be running through the streets with the stores still closed and no traffic noise.

I was looking forward to mile 1.5 which is where the first on route entertainment would be. The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir was there dressed out in their robes and everything! They sounded great and as you ran by they'd look you in the eye and smile and wave at you while they kept perfect pitch. They were just awesome! To top it off, they were there ready to go for us early starters. Many of the other on route entertainment weren't there when we went by. I supposed they planned to set up for the regular start. Too bad for me.

At mile 2 there was a coat donation station. It's pretty cold in the morning when you start. But you warm up pretty fast once you start running. So instead of having to carry your coat with you or toss it on the side of the road, a group is waiting to take your coat from you and they donate it to the homeless. They are helping people in need and keeping the streets clean! Cool!!!

The weather was pretty nice in the beginning. But as soon as we turned right at Ghiraradelli Square a COLD wind blasted us right in the face! Oh it stopped us in our tracks! But we had to push on.

It was still dark when we hit Chrissy Fields. There were motorcyclists perched at certain points on the trail to shine their headlights down the paths so we could see where to run. Very nice!

There were so many people who came out to help.

The next several miles were just hills. Uphill, downhill, uphill, uphill, uphill and so on. I was getting tired and the temperature was dropping even though the sun was up now.

We were climbing this stiff hill that just went on forever! I was about to tell Cindy I needed to take a break when I saw this young boy up in the distance wearing a bright orange shirt. He was looking down the hill at us expectantly. As we neared I saw he was holding a HUGE pan of orange slices!!!! Oh wonders of wonders!!! Carbs and liquid that wasn't out of my hydropack!!! I get sooooo sick of my stupid electrolyte drink over a long course. But you have to keep a steady supply of carbs, sodium and fluids going through your system. So you keep drinking it until you just can't stand it. The oranges looked better than slices of gooey chocolate cake!!!!

"OOOHHHHH ORANGES!!!!!!! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!!" I gushed as I grabbed an orange on my way past. The boy just looked at me with a worried expression. I wondered if he understood why one little orange sliced made me so happy.

We kept climbing the hill and there were people in orange shirts lining both sides and they literally cheered you up the hill!! As I said, I was already exhausted and this was the steepest, longest hill on the course so far. But I didn't even slow my stride simply because there was not one yard where there wasn't multiple people cheering you on. You just couldn't stop when they were working so hard to encourage you to the top! It was just freaking amazing!

And I did make it all the way up the hill! And at the very end there was a man holding out a canister of handy wipes!!! I just wanted to cry!!  Why would handy wipes make me cry?? Ok, sometimes when your body is under extreme stress you get a little fragile and sensitive.

Actually, seeing the handy wipes sent a clear message: "We thought long and hard about what you runners would need from us to support you." They thought about how our hands would be sticky after the oranges and they gave us handy wipes so we wouldn't have to run the rest of the race with sticky fingers. Seriously, that was so sweet. In a marathon, any little annoyance is amplified into a huge annoyance! Those handy wipes was a symbol of their caring about us. :)

If you think I'm crazy talking so much about a stupid handy wipe. Just wait until mile 23 when a piece of licorice saves my life.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

TNT Inspirational Dinner Welcome (by Niccu)

Another TNT athlete Nicholas Cu shot this video of the welcome we got coming into the inspirational dinner.

Nicholas also shot a great video of his actual marathon. I'll be sharing that later. :) Way to go Nick. So proud of you!!!!

Part 6: It Begins....early

2:30 am.

That's when I set my alarm. I had to be in the staging area on the first floor at 4am. So when Kris asked what time I set on the alarm, that's what I told him. He started discussing the merits of waking up at 3am instead of 2:30. My thinking was that I would much rather have too much time in the morning than find out I cut it too short and have to scramble. But I was also exhausted and didn't feel like debating for long. So we compromised and set the alarm for 2:45.

I got in bed and expected to toss and turn all night until my alarm went off. Oh well, most people run marathons sleep deprived. I've ridden many key bike rides that way too. No biggie. But to my surprise, the moment my head hit the pillow I was out and stayed out until my alarm went off at 2:45 am!

I had no trouble getting out of bed. The fear had kicked back in. The thought of showing up late and missing the pilgrimage to the start line with the rest of the team gave me great speed.

I had done a 'dry run' of my dressing routine the night before to be sure to not hit the start line missing anything important. I had pinned my bib to my singlet the night before to be sure I didn't forget it. That is racing commandment #5: THOU SHALT NOT FORGET THINE RACE BIB.

Though this is listed as commandment #5, it is the greatest in importance. Do not show up to race without your bib. You'll be able to start the race, but right before the finish line you will be pulled off the course.

It may seem mean to let a 'bandit' run the whole course and then pull them right before they finish. But think about it, if bandits were pulled at mile 2, they'd just jump back on the course at mile 3. So the logical place to pull them is just before the finish so they won't be jumping back on at a later point.

While they get the benefit of all the aid stations, they don't get across the finish line where they can grab up finisher medals and all the other finishers' swag. There's nothing worse than running for hours only to find when you cross the finish line everything has run out because too many bandits made it in before you. Not cool. So don't try to run without your bib and if you do, don't get cranky when you are pulled off the course at the last quarter mile.

I had my bib. I was ready. But before we left the room I shot this quick thank you video: 

My intention was to shoot another one after the marathon. But as it turned out, that wasn't going to happen.

I made it to the staging area on time and our group was the first to make it over to the start area a few blocks from the hotel. We had a lot of time to wait around which gave me time to reflect on racing commandment # 6: take as many potty breaks as you can before race start.

The porta potties were a couple blocks back. We passed them on the way to the start line. I knew I wanted to make it through the marathon without taking any potty stops. As it was, I was going to have a hard time keeping the pace I wanted without adding time for stops. I knew I should go. But I was too lazy to walk back the two blocks to the johns and back to the start.

Wait a minute I thought. If I am too lazy to walk four measly blocks, I am too lazy to run a marathon! Get your lazy butt over there. So I did. Let me give a reminder to all who read this; when using porta-potties, latch the door! I walked up to a john and the little sign said "Vacant". So I swung open the door and heard a scream! Then I screamed! A lady was already using it and apparently she didn't know how to work the latch. Trust me, I wasn't any more happy about it than she was. I chose another john and was sure to latch my door! Yikes!

I made it back to the start in plenty of time. By then the race M.C.s had arrived on site and were interviewing people in the crowd. Some were cancer survivors, some were legacy runners who had ran every NWM since it's beginning 7 years ago. And there was one pregnant lady. I was so proud! Look at how far we have come in just 25 years. Not only can women run any distance they want officially today, but women don't have to give it up to have a family. None of us on the course was worried she was going to jiggle her uterus loose or that the baby would fall out.

Even if it did, it'd be no big deal. The lady running behind her would just grab the baby up and say, "Oh honey, you dropped something."

New mommy taking the baby from the woman: "Oh thank you! Oh look! It's a boy!!!"

All the women nearby: "Yeah! Congratulations!!!"

And then we'd all run the new mommy and baby into the finish line together. :)

Needless to say the spirit at the start line was high!

My running partner Cindy and I were right in the front! I was watching the count down clock. I wanted to turn on my tracking devices at the last minute to ensure they wouldn't die out before the end of the race. I knew I was going to be on the course for many hours and I wanted the whole course tracked. I had chosen to use the pod sensor Nike app rather than the GPS Nike app because my main concern was the battery life of the phone. I wanted to be able to use my phone at the end of the race in case I couldn't find Kris. Besides Jeffrey turned off my push notifications the day before. So I should be fine.

My Garmin tracker takes a few seconds to find satellites. It ended up I turned it on a few seconds too late. When the start gun went off, Garmin hadn't secured the satellites yet. So you can see me in the marathon video (to be posted later) messing with my Garmin trying to start it up as soon as the satellites were located. Stupid. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Part 5: The Inspiration Dinner

We were told to show up early to the dinner because the line gets long. There are close to 5,000 TNT athletes alone, not to mention the coaches and other volunteers. So the dinner is held at a convention center nearby. We had to wait outside until they opened the doors. I found out quickly why they wouldn't let us wait in the lobby. They were building a gauntlet.

From the moment you stepped foot in the convention center, you were in a gauntlet of cheering people. You had to walk through two thick rows of people cheering, clapping, yelling, ringing bells, blowing horns. It was just CRAZY!!!!

The dinner was on the lower level but you couldn't take the escalator because it was lined with more cheering people. So as you crested the stairs you could see the lower level and there was a SEA of more cheering people! 

Those of you close to me know I am not shy! But the energy and just the number of people and the fact they were cheering for us just got to me. I ducked behind Kris and let him lead me down the stairs. Within a few seconds however, I heard Kris exclaim, "This is wrong!". Then he grabbed my wrist and pulled  me in front of him and made me go down the stairs first!

I was doing pretty good keeping the tears at bay until I spotted this one guy on the right bank of the escalators. He was particularly enthusiastic and was leaning as far as he could over the railing and screaming and pointing urgently at the sign his was holding. I read it and it said, "I am a survivor because of you". That just did me in. That's why we trained for 5 months. That's why we sacrificed our time and our families. It made a difference to that man. And there are more out there like him.

Sorry, I was shaking when I tried to capture this picture. 

I made it through the rest of the gauntlet and made it to the dinner table. We ate dinner and waited for the inspirational speeches to start. I knew one of my top three running heros had spoken at a TNT dinner in the past. I mused about how awesome it would be if he happened to be the speaker at this dinner. He wasn't. He was the M.C.!

John Bingham walked out on the stage!!!! I couldn't believe it! He is the man that convinced me I could run! In his books "No  Need for Speed" and "The Courage to Start" he taught me you don't have to be built like a runner or even fast to run. In fact, he started the "Penguin Brigade" which are runners who 'waddle'. I am definitely a penguin!!! And lastly, he convinced me it's never to late to start. He truly introduced me to one of my greatest joys!! And there he was .....introducing another one of my top three running heros: Joan Benoit-Samuelson!!!!! OMG!!!!!

Joan Benoit-Samuelson won the gold medal in the first ever women's Olympic marathon in 1984.  That was the first time women were allowed to run a marathon in the Olympics. Can you believe it???? 1984!! That's barely 25 years ago!

For the majority of the twentieth century it was widely believed that women shouldn't run long distances. Besides women not being encouraged to be active and athletic, many people (even doctors) thought women would ruin their chances to have children if they ran too much. There was widely held fear that women's uteruses would jiggle out of their bodies!!

Kris and I had read this some where early on when we had started running. In fact, we would routinely joke about it. I'd come in from a run some days and say:

"Wow! That was a tough run!!"

Kris: "Did you jiggle your uterus out?"

Jill: "Yeah, but it's ok. I picked it up and put it in my waist pack."

Kris: "Thank goodness you didn't leave it behind like last time. Took us for ever to find it!"

And so on the banter would continue.

I just can't believe the ignorance that was prevalent back then.

So there I was listening to the woman who snatched the gold at that first women's marathon. And not only did she take the gold, but she pulled ahead of the competitors early in the race and kept the lead the whole way! And she is one petite woman!

Joan Benoit-Samuelson is not your tall lanky runner type. She isn't any taller than I am. I was encouraged to see someone my height tear up the marathon course. Who says you have to have mile long legs to be a good runner? This gave me more encouragement.

Something else that is encouraging to me is that Joan and my other top three running hero (Katherine Switzer) is that they are over the age of 50 and are still running. Joan had finished the Chicago marathon barely a week before and she ran a solid sub-3!!! It cheers me to think I'll be running for years and years to come. I'll be happy if I 'run myself into the grave'. Ha ha.

After Joan spoke, John Bingham got back on the stage to give encouragement especially to the first time marathoners. He gave us some tips on what to expect. He said to be prepared to, at some point on the course, to look at our running partner and think "I wish you would just SHUT UP!"

Me and my running partner Cindy
I couldn't imagine that! My running partner and I enjoyed each other's company on every run. Even the 20 miler! But I had heard about those times where you just get agitated and everything annoys you. I think you get that in every endurance sport as I had experienced that on several of my long distance rides too. Our coaches called those times the "dark places". I was hoping to avoid those places the next day.

As we made our way back to the hotel after the dinner, I noticed I was getting more and more anxious about the race. I was breaking racing commandment #4: Manage Your Fear. There was a million things that could go wrong and attempting the longest route I'd ever done on an unfamiliar course was scary. Until I told myself, "This is just another long run with the team." The moment I put it in that perspective I instantly calmed down. After all, I had done a long run with the team a million times with no big tragedies. 

I had nothing to worry about.......

Monday, October 25, 2010

Part 4: Racing Commandment #3

Don’t be on your feet too much the night before your race.

Our fried Robb lives in San Francisco and we just can’t miss him when we’re in town. We usually only get a few hours with Robb at a time which is a shame because we love to hang out with him. But I needed to stay off my feet and Robb had a halloween party to get ready for that night anyway.

So Robb fought his way through the protesters at the hotel and took us on a tour of the Castro. I have been to San Francisco several times but never made it to the Castro. So I was thrilled when Robb said he’d take us on a tour.

There are several famous bars down there (like the first gay bar with large plate glass windows) and lots of cute shops. I loved the bar named “Moby Dick”. God help me, it made me giggle. But honestly it just doesn’t take much with me.

My favorite store was called “Under One Roof” which has a little of everything and everything was neat. This is where I got almost all the gifts for my triple digit donors. I stayed in there a couple hours there was so much cool stuff to look at. They are are dog friendly so I made some new canine friends as well. And to top it all off, they donate the proceeds to several aids charities. I’m all about helping out. So that was the cherry on top of the shop for me. :)

Castro seemed a little cleaner and a little quieter than the rest of the city. However, I understand it can get pretty wild on the holidays! :)

I wanted to see the location of Harvey Milk’s camera shop. So Robb was kind enough to be sure we went past it. It’s empty now. But still there. I love historic sites.

After the camera shop it was time for lunch. Robb never lets us down with food suggestions either. He took us to a place called “Chow”. Get there early so you don’t have to wait. The food is delish and varied and the staff is great! Loved it!!!

They had a spicy noodle dish that I really wanted to try. But I didn’t think I needed to temp racing commandment #2 again. So I opted for a mellow pizza. It was great!

Sadly, after lunch it was time to say goodbye to Robb so he could get ready for his party and I could take a nap to get ready for mine. The inspiration dinner for the athletes was that night and I wanted to be fresh.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: Robb, you could do movie makeup!!WOW!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Part 3: Racing Commandent #2

Racing Commandment #2:

Don’t eat anything unusual or anything that could remotely upset your stomach or otherwise make you sick.

So Kris and I found a Thai restaurant. We love Thai food and the spices don’t get to me. But, I wondered if the spices used at a different Thai restaurant would negatively effect my stomach. But it’s San Francisco. I wasn’t about to go eat at some safe but mundane Olive Garden or something! Beside, I brought a good supply of Pepto Bismo with me just in case. :) So bring it!

Dinner was great and Kris and I stayed mellow and went to bed early. The private shopping started at 7am and I wanted to be out of the hotel at 6:30 to get at the front of the line. (I wasn’t sure how many of us had the ‘exclusive’ privilege of private shopping.)

I don’t think Kris believed I was going to get up that early. You might say I’m not a morning person. In fact, if I am up before 10 on a weekend, the devil gets nervous.

So when I stepped out of the shower the next morning at 5:40am Kris was standing there with a panicked look on his face.

“WHAT are you DOING????”

“I’m getting ready to go. I told you I was hoping to leave the room by 6:30.”

I could tell by the look on his face, he didn’t believe me when I shared my plans the night before. So he scrambled to get ready. I’m sure he thought he was going to have at least three more hours before I would be up. He was shocked! Hee hee hee!

It was still dark out when we hit the streets. The protesters were still there. But they were fewer at this time and they were much more quiet. The whole city was quiet. It was nice. I wondered if there’d be a crowd at Niketown this early.

We arrived at Niketown fifteen minutes before the private shopping opened. There were four gals in front of us. That’s it. I would have liked to have gotten pictures of the name wall. But it was still too dark.

Private shopping was great! Well worth getting up early. There were a ton of help so I basically had a personal shopper to help me find all my gear. I could browse the items before they were picked over. I didn’t have to wait in line for the cashier.  And they had a DJ and MC for us. At 7 in the morning! Can you believe it?

Two odd things I noted however: 1) even though this was a ‘women’s’ marathon, I was surprised they only had one item for men. 2) They provided ‘breakfast’ for us. Hot coffee and various pastries and doughnuts. Are you kidding me?? We have a marathon to run the next morning and you are feeding us pastries??? Is that what you provide your Nike pro-athletes? I don’t think so.

Needless to say, I stayed away from them. :) (I love junk food. But for the marathon, I've been scared straight!)

When we left, the sun was up and the sidewalk was still empty. So we snapped pictures of the name wall unjostled.

Then we head back over to the expo. I specifically wanted to hit the Jetblue booth that was screening a video of the route. Kris and I were especially interested to see if the hills were as scary as they looked on the hill profile chart we have seen.

It was great because the video had commentary so we knew exactly where the water stops versus re-fueling stations were. So that was helpful. Also, none of the hills looked scary on the video. Walking away from the course video, I wasn’t scared of ‘nothing’!

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Marathon Weekend Re-Cap (Or more accurately: The Blow-By-Blow) Part 2

Nike and the Expotique

The first order of business was to get to the expotique to pick up our race packets. You may have noticed I didn’t say “Expo”. No, Nike does an Expotique. Which means in addition to the regular booths you’d see pre-race they include back massage, foot massage, and of course running bra fittings. I was pretty excited.

As I was processed the check-in volunteer said, “Oh, you’re a Nike+ member.”
Nike + is a device Kris got me a few years ago that tracks my running (through my i-phone) and can be uploaded to the Nike website. It’s super cool because all the other Nike+ users load their runs on the site too. So you can see each other’s progress and join virtual races where you try to run faster or longer than the others in the ‘race’.

I loved it so much that I got one for my friend Kim when she decided to run her first marathon this year too. So Kim and I were poised to rack up the mileage on our Nike+‘es. Then Apple came out with OS 4 for the i-phone and totally ruined my plans.

OS 4 does not play well with Nike+. I knew my pod was old. So I bought a new one just in case that was the issue. Nope. So I started the high mileage portion of my  marathon training with no way to brag to my virtual friends on the Nike site. That bent my nose bad since I am an unlikely runner and until then, never was the runner running longer than everyone else. My ego was slouching and sad.

I also have a Garmin. So the good news was I could track every marathon training mile on that. However, the Garmin site lacks the virtual community and therefore brag potential. Which is sad, because good-natured bragging among friends (even virtual ones) is fun and motivating. But at least I could track.

So I was told since I have a Nike+ I get special treatment and should talk to the kind ladies at the concierge desk about all the cool stuff I get. So I did and was told I get:

Private bag check in the Nike tent. Which means I’d get my checked bag faster than the other non-Nike schmucks at the end of the race.

I could start the race in the Nike+ corral rather than the regular pace corrals the other rabble would have to use. (This didn’t matter to me as I was already slated for the early start with the TNT team. Which means I didn’t have to contend with corrals period).:)

Private shopping the next morning at Niketown (Nike’s retail store). Which means I can shop for event gear without having to fight the massive crowds.

I have access to the Nike tent at the finish line where they would have free food, massages, stretching, Nike professional athletes (including my hero Joan Benoit-Samuelson)

I could also have my finisher’s necklace engraved at the tent. Super Cool!!!!

And if I talk to the concierge at the back of the expo in the Nike area, I’d get another gift.  Sweet!

I wanted to talk to the Nike people anyway about my missing mileage. So Kris and I made our way to the back of the expo to the Nike area. But we stopped on the way to blend some smoothies at the Safeway booth.
Safeway had these bikes set up that had blenders rigged to the front. They fill the blenders with smoothie ingredients and people would get on the bikes and pedal to blend the smoothies. So of course I had to do that. I had sandals on, so the nice lady had to help me get my feet into the straps. But once I was ready I blended a mean smoothie. :)

At the Nike area, I was referred to Geoffrey who was the Nike+/i-phone expert to help me with my tracking problems. I explained to Mr. G that my pod wouldn’t work after the i-phone OS upgrade and described the symptoms.

“Sounds like your pod is dying. You should try getting a new one.”

“Already tried that Geoffrey. No dice.”

Then I told him how I switched to the GPS app as soon as that came out. (Nike came out with a GPS app for the i-phone that also tracks your runs but it does it by satellite location rather than the sensor pod.) So I started using that which was ok except the GPS drains the phone’s battery. And by that time I was doing long runs for training. So my phone would die before I was done with my runs. @#!*?//!

So Geoffrey changed some settings on the phone to use less battery and also turned off my push notifications because it’s believed push notifications sometimes will knock out the sensor mid-run.

So now I just had to decide if I wanted to use the GPS app on the marathon and risk the battery dying or use the sensor app and risk it getting knocked out some how. More on that later.

Next it was off to get a foot massage. There was an hour and half wait! So they were taking people’s cell phone numbers and would text me when my turn was coming up. Cool. The expo was really busy by this point. So we thought we’d go to Niketown  to see the name wall and to see if it was too crowded to do a little shopping.

The name wall is super cool! It’s a big wall with every runner’s name on it.  Everyone makes a pilgrimage to the wall to find and take a picture of their name.

It was too crowded! There was a no room in front of the name wall to attempt to find my  name. People were spilling into the street as there was not an inch of space left on the side walk. I told Kris, let’s come back tomorrow morning during private shopping to do the name wall. He agreed!

So the plan was to got get dinner and come back tomorrow when the private shopping opened. Then we’d hit the expo again and catch everything we skipped. So off we went to dinner and to break racing commandment #2.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Marathon Weekend Re-Cap (Or more accurately: The Blow-By-Blow) Part 1

It’s the last day of work before my marathon weekend and I’m thinking about how great everything has worked out. No injuries, no illnesses and no logistical snafus. We were home free! Marathon weekend was on its way free and clear!

“Bleep! Bleep”

An e-mail from the head of our TNT chapter came over my cell phone and the subject was: “Hilton Hotel SF on Strike”

What?? We were scheduled to arrive the next morning. Don’t tell me the hotel is on strike!! Where in the world are they going to find another hotel in San Francisco at this late date!!!!

I figured we’d be stuck in a Motel 6 in Oakland and they’d have to bus us to the start line. Which would mean getting up two hours earlier than the already inhumanely early wake up call at 2:30 am! Not to mention spending a long weekend in a roach motel instead of a nice luxury property with concierge service. Damn!

I opened the e-mail and was relieved to learn it was basically business as usual at the Hilton SF. Only housekeeping and catering would be effected. We would however, have to deal with protestors outside.

That’s ok. I can deal with protestors.

I was pretty nervous the night before we left. I was worried about leaving a key piece of gear behind. My husband kept saying, “Don’t worry. If you forget anything we’ll just buy a replacement in SF. Stop fretting.”

I wanted to use my own gear. The stuff that got me through the last five months of training and was proven on the road. Every endurance athlete knows you don’t try something different on race day. That is commandment #1:

Thou shalt not try anything new on race day.

As it happened, I almost forgot to pack the bladder to my waist pack. My waist pack is very old and it is unlikely we would have found the same model in San Francisco. My husband would have suggested just buying a whole new waist pack/bladder set. But then we’d be breaking commandment number one.

Though I did make it to San Francisco with all my important gear my compulsion to always pack light failed me later in the weekend. But more on that later.

 As expected the ride up in the team bus went by quickly. When we arrived at the hotel you could see the protestors in full force. They were loud and angry. I was not looking forward to walking through them.

The bus circled the block and stopped on the opposite side of the hotel where there weren’t any doors. So not only would we have to battle our way into the hotel, but we would have to schlep our luggage around the block first. Great.

So I grabbed my bag and rolled it behind the line of runners and followed the leader around the corner. Where hotel staff had a secret side door opened for us to ‘sneak’ into. Yeah!!!

I was waiting for the line to move so I could get in, I heard the picketers grow louder. I looked up and here they came marching around the corner making a bee line for us. Their leader was in the front head down yelling at us through her bull horn. The doorman immediately grabbed his phone and dialed for back up.

I was willing the line to move faster so I wouldn’t get caught with a bull horn in my ear before I could reach the safety of the interior. But they were ascending on us FAST. I started yelling to the runners in front of me “GO! GO! GO!” The line moved only a fraction faster and the protesters reached me just as my running partner Cindy made it in. I executed a perfect dive roll into the door pulling my luggage behind me and managed to miss the brunt of the cacophony of anger.

Phew! Who tipped them off?

The hotel was packed and the line for registration was a mile long. But they did such a great job moving the line that we were checked into our rooms in record times. There was a live band in the lobby probably to try to drown out the noise of the protestors. And they were serving lemonade and cookies. I was too freaked out to partake as I was trying hard to eat healthy before the marathon.

All weekend they had complementary wine in the evenings, and again I wouldn’t partake. God forbid I have any empty calories before the marathon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marathon Weekend Photos - Set one

Back of running singlet. Names of people I ran for.

Front of singlet. You put your name very big and bright so people will cheer for you by name. I heard "Run Jill Run" all along the route.

The "Gauntlet". You had to walk through a tunnel of cheering to get to dinner. It was over whelming!

A man was holding a sign: "I'm a survivor because of you." Wow! That got me!

Me and my running partner Cindy.

Joan Benoit-Samuelson spoke at our dinner! One of my top three running heroes! Holy Cow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marathon Route

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Click the link to see the marathon route. Hilly! My moving pace was 15:15. Pretty proud of that in the conditions. Will blog details later.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Running Song for Team in Training (TNT)

This song was written specifically for TNT. Please enjoy and consider making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Bucket List

You've heard a lot about 'bucket lists' recently and I sat down this week to think of my bucket list. I could only think of three items that I really wanted to accomplish before I die and I only came up with three things: 

Complete a century ride. 
Complete a marathon.
Write a book 

That's it. Not many things and nothing that'll change the world. Heck, nothing that would mean anything to anyone but me. I don't know what I think about that. Does it mean I'm just very content with my life or just really shallow, or really boring? Hhhhhm. 

There's other things I would love to do but don't have it on the list because it seems  absolutely impossible (bring about world peace for example or break my addiction to sugar). I don't want to spend my whole life longing for something that will never be. Don't Buddhists say "Desire brings suffering?" (I know my desire to complete a marathon has brought suffering! But to be honest it's also brought a lot of growth and joy). 

So I don't know. Maybe it's ok to just leave it be. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Hey you're not limping!"

Many people at my work knew I was running 20 miles on Saturday. I got an e-mail from a co-worker today:

"Your 20 miler must have gone well Saturday. You're not limping today."

I didn't realized people noticed me limping on the other days! LOL!

But I must say, I am pleased with how my body recovered so quickly! Yeah body!!!

The heat wave continues this week.....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

20 MIler with TNT - Route

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Our longest training run. Temperature got up to 104! The heat slowed my time. But we finished! Click the link to see the route and check out the stats.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

20 Miler Down!

I was pretty worried about the 20 miler since my 18 miler was painful and the forecast for San Luis Obispo was for 90 degree weather. I thought it was likely we were going to be pulled off the course early and if we weren't I'd experience the same pain as I did on the 18 miler and have to endure it for two additional miles.

Well I ran pretty comfortable the whole time. My new shoes seemed to do the trick and my muscle didn't fatigue like they did on the 18 miler. I'm still having issues with "chub rub" I reapplied lube twice and still ended up with the worse case yet! However, it didn't hurt too bad during the run. It's afterwards that the pain sets in, which is actually fortunate.

And I have the best running partner ever! Cindy can run a lot faster than me. But she always runs with me anyway and she not only fun to chat with on the runs but she has a solid 'partner' mentality. It's like we're 'team running'. I hope to blog more details about that in a separate post.

I had a special treat mid-run. Kris took Heather on a hike up Madonna Mountain while I was running. When they were done he went to look for me on the course. This was a feat because he had no map and had no idea where they were going to run us except they were going to run us to Avila Beach and back. So by some clever deduction, he found a string of TNT runners and since he knows my pace and where I started, he was able to make a good guess I was on the Bob Jones trail at the time. And I was!

Cindy and I were on our way back from the turn around point heading back on the trail and I see way ahead this guy who sort of looks like Kris. I see he has a dog with him that looks like Heather. No way. What are the chances he knew where I'd be???

But sure enough as we move toward each other on the trail I realized it was them!! I called to Heather and she perked up her ears and ran straight for me. I was yelling my usual, "How's Mama's girl? How's my baby girl!?" I was so excited I was yelling loud and the trail was very busy at this time. Everyone was looking and it was so cute as Heather ran straight into my arms to get hugs and kisses from Mom.

Another TNT athlete that was headed in the opposite direction smiled as said as she passed, "You are a lucky girl!" I said, "I know!!" I think she saw that Kris was there and she was referring more to me having a supportive husband than just a great dog. But, whatever, she was right!

Then a little later, I saw the Tailwinds Bike Club from Santa Maria come down the trail. Kris and I biked much of the running route with the bike club several times in the past. So I knew there was a good chance of seeing them and I had been watching for them all day. So I had fun cheering "Go Tailwinds!!!" as they zoomed past us!

Cindy and I said goodbye to Kris and Heather once we reached the end of the Bob Jones trail. Then we headed up Ontario Rd and to the SAG wagon at mile 14. 

As I feared, the temperature soared and by mile 16 we were feeing it. We didn't know what the temperature was but I decided I needed to walk it in the rest of the way. I knew I could finish the distance. I wasn't even disappointed about walking the last 4 miles. In that kind of heat it was a great feat to simply finish.

We were 3 miles away from the end. Coach April pulled up in her truck and our manager Barb jumped out. She said, "It jumped from 95 to 104 in the last 20 minutes. We're pulling all the runners off the course."

I was with my running buddy Cindy and two other ladies. We all exclaimed in unison, "But we're only 3 miles out! We're doing good."

So the manager and coach did a quick assessment of all of us and gave 3 of us clearance to finish. The forth gal was gently convinced to get on the truck and call it a day.

I was THRILLED!!!!!!!!!! THEY LET ME FINISH!!!!!!!!! I did a HOT 20 miles!!! I am READY!!!!!

Kris was waiting for me back at the park. My phone died around mile 15. So the last he heard from me was that we were really hot and would be slower coming in than expected. But I worried that he would see the team trucks pulling in with all these runners getting out and wonder where the heck I was. 

When we arrived at the park, he did have a concerned look on his face until I threw up my arms, gave him a big smile and yelled "We did it!" Then he knew I was fine. He said I looked really good! I felt pretty good! And my time was only 17 minutes slower than I predicted. Not bad in 104 degrees. 

This run has really helped me mentally. I really feel that I can go the distance in the marathon. It shouldn't be that hot. I stayed pretty comfortable. So if I stick to the final weeks of training, I should do just fine!

Thanks for all of you who were praying for me today and sending me positive energy! It worked!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The 20 Miler May Not Go ... the distance that is

Word on the street is that it's going to be unusually hot tomorrow. I believe TNT has a rule that they pull the athletes off the course if the temp reaches 80. According to the forecast, SLO is going to reach 80 degrees at 10am.

So I am fully expecting to be pulled off the course three and a half hours into my run which would only put me at about 14 miles. A bit short from the 20 miler goal.

Perhaps they'll be a miracle and we'll have cool weather all day. Maybe I'm wrong about the rule and we won't be pulled. Hhhhmmmm. We'll have to see.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

9 During Hell Week - I did it!!!! by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

9 During Hell Week - I did it!!!! (Though I had to fight hell and high water) - Details

So this week is "Hell Week" in marathon training. It's the week with the highest mileage. It includes a day with a 9-10 mile run. I had a couple vacation days to burn so I scheduled the vacation days on the two days during the week that I had the longest run. This way I didn't have to get up insanely early to run long before work or stay out insanely late trying to get in a long run after work. What a brilliant plan!

The first vacation day was terrific and went off without a hitch. Then I went to work for one day and came home looking forward to my next day off when I would sleep in late, get up to leisurely coffee, take my long run when I felt like it, come home, clean up and do crafts until it was time to get my hair done. Then come home and make Kris a nice dinner. Perfect day.

Not to be. I was woken up that morning by a bad head ache! I tried to go back to sleep and 'sleep it off'. But I couldn't fall back to sleep. I thought maybe it was a caffein headache like I get sometimes if I miss my morning cup. So I got up to have coffee. But my head hurt worse if I sat up. So I laid down. It's hard drinking coffee while you are horizontal.

I was calculating what time I could start my run and still make it back in time to be ready for my hair appt. I had to be hitting the pavement by 1pm. I had a few hours. So I tried to drink water in case it was a dehydration headache which I am prone to. I couldn't take my usual IB Profin because our coaches tell us not to take that on our long run days because they fear kidney damage. So I hoped the headache would go away.

I fell back asleep and when I woke up, the headache was almost gone. So I sat up. The headache came back immediately and with a vengeance! So I laid back down and thought of ways I could still make the run. By 1:30 I decided, I would try running after my hair appt. I would still be running after dark. But not for that long.

The time for the appt was approaching and I still couldn't sit up without my head hurting again. I had fallen asleep again too. I think my body was just beyond tired. Finally, with only an hour before my appt time, I declared defeat and canceled the hair appt.

I thought my body must be fighting something. So I told it, "Look body, I really appreciate all you have done to get me here. You amaze me! But the fact is, we're in hell week and we will complete hell week because there is no way I am doing a 20 mile run on Saturday without my weekly mileage under our feet. So I don't know what you are dealing with today but you have to straighten it out before tomorrow because we are running our 9 miler come hell or high water! Get it? We are running long tomorrow wether you feel good or not. And you know I'm serious too!"

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a little tough love.

So the next day my alarm went off at 5am to do a morning run. My body (my hand specifically) grabbed the clock and threw it across the room where it promptly exploded into a million tiny pieces. I don't remember doing that. But when I woke up to shards of alarm clock on my side of the room, I put two and two together.

So it was going to be a long run after work eh?

I am always exhausted after work. So my plan was to try to take it easy. Not to bust my head on anything that wasn't an absolute priority. And to try to not stress any more than possible. I was doing pretty good until late in the day when an irate call was escalated to me. The caller was so abusive, the worst I have ever had. I had to basically hang up on him. I hated that. But the worse thing was, I'm sure I could have gotten him straightened out if he'd give me the chance. Then he called back and threatened one of my employees. That didn't make me look forward to running in the dark by myself that night. Oh well. One strike against running after work.

I meant to take a break to change my clothes about 20 minutes before my shift was done so I could start running as soon as possible. But I got a last minute phone call and besides, the last few minutes of the shift is the best time for my lead to touch base with me. So by the time we were done handling what we needed to it was more than half an hour past my target start time. I was going to get home very late! Strike two against running after work.

So I swung by the gym and changed, locked up my bag and headed out. I was an hour past my target start time. I was definitely going to be running after dark, but I purposely brought my best flasher so the cars could see me on the road. (There's a couple spots without sidewalks).

So I headed straight for the McCoy trail so that I could run past that skunk (I have ran into him  a couple times) in the day light so I could see him coming unlike the first time I saw him. On the way to the trail I ran into a really nice guy with two super sweet dogs. Great right? Usually, but this guy was a talker! I am partial to talkers 1) because I usually am one and 2) many talkers are just lonely. I have been lonely in my time and I know how much a little nice conversation even with a stranger can be a big deal. So I stopped to spend a little conversation with him. Making me later on on my run. But I did end the conversation after a few minutes and got under way.

With not even enough time to warm up after I left the nice man, my mother-in-law calls me. I had already had missed about three calls from her the past week and I knew this was our best chance to touch base. Strike number three? No, I can run and talk on the phone. That's why they made handsfree sets. :)

Had a lovely chat with my MIL. She is such a sweetheart! But when I hung up, it was dark. So I grabbed my favorite flasher which I have only had occasion to use once before and promptly dropped it on the sidewalk.....and broke it! No flasher. I would now be invisible on the dark stretches of road with no sidewalks. [Insert explicative here]. Maybe I should loop it back to the gym and call it. I had only gone 2-3 miles. No. I'm pressing on.

I plotted out a plan to run on streets that I was familiar with and trails without cars as much as I could. When I made it back to the gym, I would finish any left over distance on the treadmill (or 'deadmill' as I refer to it). I was hoping I could cover more than half the miles by the time I get back to the gym because dead mill time sucks.

So I ran out this multi-purpose trail which has no lights, but it also has no cars and at that time of night no other people. It ended up being my favorite part of the run. There's something neat about running in the dark. The sky was clear and the air crisp. It was lovely.

I called Kris to let him know where I was and we chatting for quite awhile. By this time I had decided to run for two hours. That would get me really close to my goal and still get me home at a decent time. So I shared that with Kris. I decided to run on the road that parallels the airport. That was a good long stretch and I could probably finish my remaining time going back and forth on that. (Anything to avoid the deadmill!) And I wouldn't have to worry about cars. That road is barely used at night.

Wrapping up the long story, at the two hour mark I was only one mile away from goal. How could I not finish the final mile?? So I did. I made it back to the gym and had a solid 9 on my Garmin. I was thrilled!!!!!

My awesome husband went out to get me my favorite ice cream to celebrate my achievement and he had also made me a lovely dinner. Sadly, I didn't have an appetite! With two miles to go I was really hungry and realized I didn't eat enough calories that day. So I had an energy bar. I think that killed my appetite. But the good news is, I have a whole pint of Chunky Monkey waiting for me for when I finish my 20 miler on Saturday.......

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hell Week Starts Tomorrow

I was dead tired after this work week and slept 12 hours straight! So needless to say I didn't get up at 5 to get to Atascadero to run with the team.

So I ran in town. I did pretty good (for me). I made sure I hit some hills. Though there was nothing like Ratcliff or Bishop streets. :) I SAGged myself the whole way too. (Stopped in a market at mile ten to get a fresh bottle of water. The patrons kept asking "What's that weird smell?" as I walked by. But oh well). 

Saw a couple cute guys at a bus stop who smiled and said "How you doing?" as I ran by. I think my time would've been better if I didn't stop to get their phone numbers. (Just kidding! Just kidding!)

So now, we're ready for "Hell Week". It's the week in the marathon training with the highest mileage and the long run is 20 miles!

Mentally, I am ready. Physically? I think so. So bring it on. The 20 miler next week. Yeah, that seems pretty scary. But we'll all make it in and we'll be so excited! So it'll be worth it. 

Did an ice bath, and got a massage. So today it's about continuous cycles of ice packs on the hammies and I should be ready for the big mileage starting tomorrow. :) I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

14 miler.

Untitled by anjil1206 at Garmin Connect - Details

Slept 12 hours straight and missed running with the team. Did my own run and did pretty good. I'm happy with the time for this length run. Click the link to see the stats. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Update on Maddi! :)

I heard from Maddi's aunt today that she is doing well. She had a check up and a preventative shot of antibiotic. She's not back to school yet. But everyone is hopeful she'll be back after Christmas break. Yeah!!!!