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2016 NJ Half Marathon

Today was like any other race day, not much sleep because of the anticipation and excitement. ..and the scramble of getting ready because I hit the snooze button. Twice.  Oh and it was supposed to rain. My first half in the rain, and not very happy about that.

Kissed the hubs and the sleeping kids bye and left on time. Brought an extra bag of sweats,  uggs, socks, plastic bag  (the only thing I didn’t use).  It started to rain lightly as I made it to town and parked. Thankfully I made it there 10 mins before the race started. Gave me time to hit the Porta potty and get to my corral on time.

The rain not so bad (at first ), it was like sweating but cooler and I never noticed to be honest because it wasn’t raining hard. I have to say, there is a reason this is by far my favorite race. The energy is amazing, the people, the support, it’s all there!  Every mile…people cheered, children, elderly, spouses, coaches, you name it, they were in the rain cheering us on!  Every mile!  As the mileage hit over 5 miles there was music from cars, dj equip,  local businesses so we has something to help us stay entertained. It was awesome. Some houses offered water in between water stops which were about every 1.5+ miles. One woman cut up oranges in quarters for the runners!  It was so humbling to be around those so selfless, willing to take the time early in their day to make a few steps in our journey just so memorable.  I was truly touched.

The race was really good, mile 13 was tough for me because that’s when it began to pour. The wind picked up, at this point my hands were numb, legs were hurting and my mind was already messing with me (on and off throughout the race, lots of reflecting in this race). 

Hit the finish line, grabbed my medal and a towel to keep me warm (yeah right, they should have handed out those thermal wraps)  I cried into my towel my tears of joy for completing my race. It’s tradition for me, it’s always an overwhelming experience of disbelief that I’ve completed a half Marathon. Mind you this is my 9th in total that I’ve completed to date.

My trip to my car not so successful,  I was shivering,  teeth chattering, wet and freezing. Got back to the horse track and couldn’t find my truck!  20 mins wandering in the rain is not fun. Finally got the hubs to come to my rescue, ends up I was close but not quite there. Ha!  Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. Thankfully I got to my car, got home, got my chill out and ate my celebratory pancakes!   Cranberry pancakes this time. Actually really delish!

Now enjoying my night in sweats, after a very long day (took the kids bowling in the afternoon).  Good end to a very busy day.

I’m thinking I might share the glamour and not so glamorous side of running in my next entry. Maybe it will give you some understanding as to why some of us are crazy enough to run all the miles that we do.

Oh! Before I forget, today’s finish time was 3 seconds slower than my last race 2 weeks ago (2:36:25!!) And SO much better than what I thought!

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Remembering

I’m watching the 9/11 Museum Dedication while my son plays with his toys, and my mind goes back to that very day.  I remember where I was, what I was doing, (working), who I spoke to about  the attacks, I remember when the towers fell, I remember my ride home from the office seeing the smoke from the towers.  I remember thinking I was just there in June interviewing with a big financial firm admiring the view from the office.  I remember feeling overwhelmingly relieved when I arrived home and hugging my mother.  I remember talking to my family about that happened and watching the news all night.  I remember praying a lot that day, praying for family and friends, praying for strangers, praying for people I saw on tv and those I didn’t.  If you lived close to NY or had family within the area, doesn’t matter who you are, where you were, who you were speaking with, you remember the details of that day.  I don’t know one person out there who wasn’t affected in some way, either they were there, they saw from across the Hudson or down the street or from a distance, they had family or friends that lived through the experience or lost someone that day.

 

This museum is to help others see a piece of our history from that tragic day, it tells the stories of those who died and those who survived.  Artifacts from people who died or survived from that day.  The last set of stairs which were climbed by those who survived still stand and you can climb next to those stairs.  So many little details you wouldn’t expect from that day you will find there.  I have a dear friend who worked around the corner from the towers, who has shared his story with me about that day.  He told me that there was this wall of pictures he would pass on his way to work of people’s loved ones who were missing and those pictures stood there weathered and worn after a while waiting for someone to answer their calls.  A year later someone took the time and care to replace all those pictures with new replicas…someone out there took the time to help others remember and to show that there was someone out there who cared.  Makes me wonder if that wall of pictures will be displayed there.  I know it takes time to heal from the loss and I know we grow stronger from things in our past, I just hope this will help people in their journey of healing and loss to grow hopeful and stronger.  I hope people will see that maybe the story is different with others but they are not alone.  I pray it will also help people grow more understanding and compassionate.  Maybe it’s a little miracle I may be praying for, but I’m allowed to be hopeful.

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NJ Half Marathon – April 27th

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but to be honest I’ve been doing more with my photography blog lately.  So my latest and greatest, i’ve been training for my half marathon.  This year my neighbor wanted me to help her train for the race.  Which i did, not as successfully as i did last year with my friend Dawn, but I got her on the road.  I was doing pretty good too until last weekend when I got REALLY sick and couldn’t do my last long run before our race.  I was supposed to run a 10 miler on Easter Sunday and that was just not happening.  I was sick for two days, went to the doctor on the third day and totally lost my window for the long run.  So the most either of us ran was 7 miles.  Now please keep in mind to add more mileage for a long run, you usually can add anywhere between 2-3 miles easily that won’t hurt you or give you too much of a hard time to recover.  So I figured I would be good for about 10 miles at the race and the remaining three would be painful.  Now my neighbor has had issues during our runs to where she had shooting pains down her calves and had to stop to walk…which made me worried during the race.

 

So we got there bright and early, left the house 5 minutes later than I had wanted BUT not a big deal, it was still early and we were still on time and no rushing.  Her and I were assigned different corals which wasn’t a big deal.  My last race placed me one group ahead of hers, and because she never ran before, it placed her in the very last group.  I had my mind set on getting her to cross that finish line!  THAT was my goal this time around.  I initially wanted to pace us at 2:45, but with the potty break at mile 3, I knew it would take us a bit longer.  So I know over the second bridge we walked a little bit and that was on me because I was hurting a bit, thankfully I had her who wanted to keep running.  She actually did a fantastic job for her first race, much better than I gave her credit for, I am so proud of her.  I promised to stay by her side the whole way so she wouldn’t lose her nerve and stuck to that promise.  Her husband was so grateful that I did and so was she, but to me that’s what helps keep the support going.  I had already warned her that there would be a spot in the race that will hurt, for me it was mile 11 and mile 12 was the longest damn mile EVER!  I think half way through mile 12 I looking for the Finish Line!  Seeing my husband, kids and neighbor’s husband cheering us on at mile 10 gave me that boost that I needed  because that last leg just before the finish line when i saw my husband and kids cheering us on, totally did it for me.  I ran a little harder (enough to get to the end quick but not enough to lose my neighbor) and once we crossed i saw her husband taking Footage of us crossing the finish line.  THAT was really cool of him.  After the race, we caught up with our family and my kids gave me red roses.  I think I sported a grin on my face until just before I went down for my nap when I got home.

Things we saw along the way:

Inspirational Quotes – someone posted a few signs with quotes from different movies, songs, etc

Cow bells – That was the this year’s noise maker of choice – lots of people and children ringing those, which was cute

Signs – LOTS of signs – some of my fav “Why do all the cuties run away”, “Run Mommy Run!”,

People cheering runners on – this was a big help, and at mile 10 when it started getting hard for me, my husband and my neighbor’s husband and my two children were calling out to us cheering us on…I was so happy to see them I almost cried.  Mind you none of them were supposed to show up today so THAT alone made my day.  At that point all I wanted to do was cross the finish line and kiss my family.

Tutu’s – I don’t wear them, but lots of runners do and to this day I still love them, there was also a guy in a purple plaid skirt running…ballsy if you ask me but pretty cool.

Legs – One thing I noticed at my very first race ever that I notice to this day, there is not one runner out there that has ugly calves.  They all have beautiful calves!  I also saw a guy with the prettiest legs I have ever seen.  I mean lean, tan and REALLY pretty, I would love to have my legs look like that and I love they way my legs look, scars and all (scars from when I broke my ankle when I was prego with my daughter).

 

So now I’m just recovering, trying to find the next race to run.  I’ll post the picture of my medal in a little bit too so you can all see.  One thing for you readers, for those of you who have friends, spouses, sig others or family who run, attend a race as a spectator, cheer them on and other runners…it helps and shows your support.  It means more to them to see you there than any thing else.  To know my husband wasn’t going to make it and then made the time to get the kids up early to come to see me run and finish made me over joyed, I totally appreciate the jester and appreciate my husband for making the effort.

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Searching for Inspiration

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve turned into one of those women I’d always said I would never become. I KNOW I’m not the only one out there who has said it and then found themselves in the same situation. In my case, I’m a career mom who has no time…for anything. At least it feels like it and when I do have the time I don’t take time to make the best of it because either I’m exhausted or not motivated.  I find I’ll leave the house to get my daughter from the bus stop looking like a loca…(crazy person).  I’m in need of inspiration because im burning out and not motivated and it feels like its affecting everything about me. 

Then a colleague today posted something in his blog that made me take pause. Just breathe and take in your surroundings. Everything above, below, and all around. Mind you I had a crying toddler with me. Next thing I know, he falls asleep and I can breathe again. For just a brief moment I get peace.  I need to LEARN to make more moments like this.  Lets keep our fingers crossed that it happens.

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Here’s to you!

Happy father’s day to all the hard working dads out there that do so much for their children.  And to the moms who have to  play the dual roles…enjoy the day as well! 

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Long Branch Half Marathon

Two years ago I ran my first half marathon in Long Branch, NJ with a friend of mine, Gary who was at the time 68 years of age.  He coached me through the whole long distance running process and where I should be at a certain time before the race.  Mind you prior to that Half the most I ever ran was about 4-5 miles and the only races I ran was a 5k.  Later on that same year I ran another with him but didn’t have the best time because I didn’t train as hard. I wanted to run the Long Branch half last year to see if I could beat my PR but had to stop training because I was a high risk pregnancy…go figure. I was crushed, only allowed to run short distances during my second trimester…if at all.

This past Sunday, 5 months after I gave birth to my beautiful son. I ran my first half in almost 2 years. My friend Gary ran the marathon…he retired from halves and only running marathons…one day I’ll be doing the same, well that’s the hope at least.  So this race was initially to train a friend.  I had started training her on 5ks and she found a love for running, so I told her to get herself to 5 miles by December and I would catch up.  Unfortunately she was unable to run with me due to a knee injury (she found out about 3 wks before the race)…I can’t begin to tell you how crushed we both were, and are over this.  I support her 100% in doing other things that she enjoys because as far as I’m concerned as long as you find something you love then you’ll see it through and it will help center yourself to keep you healthy and happy.  Thankfully I was able to run the race and I did it for her, dedicated this race to her, and I was able jog the whole way and to cross that finish line beating my PR!  That alone was enough satisfaction for me and I, of course cried crossing that finish line.  Why?  Because as much as I worked hard to get there, I really wanted to cross it with Dawn, she is the reason I pushed myself so hard and stayed focused.  She came over that night with this reese’s chocolate cake as my reward for being a “Bad Ass” (her words not mine).  As much as I know she was happy for me and I wanted to be happy to share the moment with her, it pained us both that she couldn’t run the race.  She worked so hard…SO HARD.  I know if she read this she might burst into tears, but I’ll say it anyway because it needs to be said… I’m VERY proud of her for accomplishing so much, for being so dedicated and for helping me stay so focused.  As easy as it is to run, its not easy to get over the mental aspect of training for a half marathon, it’s very overwhelming and she was able to get through those hurdles, communicate her doubts and help me stay reassured that I was not the only one with these barriers.  It helped me a LOT, more than she knows and it allowed for me to get over my own self doubts.  I’m very greatful to have her around…hell it helped me with beating my PR.  Now I’m looking forward to beating it again next year.

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Perspective

Ever have a hard day at work, or a bad day or felt like the butt of someone’s bad joke?  I remember at my last place of employment  there was a time where the job was demanding, the morale was low and the stress was high.  I remember feeling that this whole phase was never going to go away.  How it was just one bad day after another and I swear I felt trapped.  Thankfully I also know I’m not the only one who has felt this way or have gone through a situation like this.

I can tell you, what kept me strong and kept my perspective in place was my daughter.  Coming home to the biggest smile on the small little person and how happy she was to see me, how she would wrap her arms around my legs…the best hugs ever.  She got me through those hard days.  I even remember one time she must have been about 6 months, I came home, scooped her up, gave her the biggest hug and kiss and allowed the tears to flow.  Yet somehow I knew everything would be okay.  I would get through those tough times and I would be okay.  It was like she calmed my storm.  Funny how someone so small could make the big things in life seem smaller.  

 

Today, I come home exhausted from a busy day…lately its been very productive which is great, but tired.  I can’t get myself through the door fast enough to get my daughter’s hugs and kisses…then to scoop up my son and kiss him hello.  Tell them both I missed them so much and hear about everyone’s day.  No matter how good or bad the day, how long or short it may have seemed…they keep things in perspective for me.