Saturday, May 31, 2014

Run 2 - 4: do I really need a foam roller?

A big, heartfelt THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU to everyone who has donated to my goal thusfar.  I am humbled to know you believe in me and know I can do this (as much as all of you have heard me say on more than one occasion, 'why the hell would I run?!') and it means the world to me.

I know, I know - I went to my first second third Team In Training practice and have only gotten to updating my blog today.  But that just means I have a lot to share, right?  Hooray!  (Are you excited?)

Our Disney/Nike team ready to get sweaty!

My first official TNT practice was filled with a lot of excited nerves.  Even though I've been on the 'welcome' side of these first practices many times before, its a whole other ball game when you're the one running, especially if you are naturally adverse to running to start.  I was surrounded by our coach, captains, mentors, alumni - all volunteers who are in this to convince me that I CAN actually run a half marathon and, ultimately, help cure cancer.  Pretty intimidating/impressive stuff, right?

Our first run was just a pace assessment.  It was HARD.  It was hot and sunny and there's a particular section of aptly named "the desert" where there is zero shade.  Going through the desert on a hot, cloudless day is probably how a basket of french fries feels under a heatlamp.  I definitely felt like a french fry after that first run - hot, salty and a little burned around the edges.

Based on my pace assessment, I am in the slower pace group.  Even at my current pace in that group, I should finish the Disneyland Half without having to get on the "sad" bus.  But more on that later.

The ladies in my group are all rockstars, and they are all here for different reasons.  There is the woman who's mother passed away from a blood cancer years ago, and she's taking on the hills at Nike in San Francisco for the 7th straight year.  There are two women who both have kids and are trying to lose weight.  As I start to chat up each person in my pace group and find out their reasons for being here, I also realize that many of them have the same concerns I do, like:
  • what should I eat before my run?
  • what should I eat after my run?
  • what kind of underwear should I buy? Should I even wear underwear?
  • and, if I drink a bottle of wine on a Friday night, can I use the empty bottle as a foam roller? (We're still discussing this one.)
It's nice to be in similar company and be able to ask my crazy questions with #nojudgement.  (No one is telling me if drinking a beer before a run is appropriate carb-loading, though.)

While I was out for my run today (my longest distance EVER, whatwhat) I thought about all of the wonderful, amazing, inspiring people who have helped me get to this place in my life.  I thought about how I wouldn't have the job I have now if I hadn't worked for Team In Training, and I wouldn't have so many amazing friends if I hadn't taken a chance and applied.  I thought about the perspective they have all given me; the stories of hope and heartache, of victories and setbacks, of staring at the clock not knowing if you'll see it turn again.  And then, I thought about the most sobering facts:

While I ran for 60 minutes today, approximately twenty people in the world were given a blood cancer diagnosis.  TWENTY PEOPLE.

While I ran for 60 minutes today, approximately six people lost their battle with blood cancer.  Someone's mom or dad, sister or brother, aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather, girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, daughter, son.

I was celebrating the fact that I had run a great 4 miles and felt amazing afterwards, but I also remembered that I am doing this so that what happened while I was running no longer happens.  A lot can happen in an hour, and I am determined to take those options off the list.  Cancer ends with me, and it ends with you.  Even though today's run felt great, I am sure that there will be days that won't be so great.  Those are the days where I remember that I run because I can.  I run for those who can't.  I run because this is one of the best excuses to get up early on a Saturday morning - to cover ground and raise a ton of money and do my part in curing cancer.

You can help, too.

Run(s): 2-4
Total Mileage to Date: 27.53 mi

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Run 1: lesson in heat, part 1

I got fitted for my first pair of running shoes yesterday - the first rite of passage for any runner.  It was an added bonus that all of the shoes I had to choose from came in great colors.

I swear, I didn't plan this.
Los Angeles is on the end of a heat wave (90+ temps this past week) and yesterday was no exception.  While I was running on the treadmill so the guys at Runnergy could watch my gait, I definitely broke a sweat.  I'd like to blame it on the heat wave, but the truth is I haven't run in MONTHS, so once I decided on a pair (Sauconys, repping the East Coast - woo woo!) I also decided I'd get up this morning and go for a run.  A short run.  REAL short.

Since I haven't run in months, I decided easing into it with Active's Couch-to-5k app would be the best option to get used to the habit of running.  I realized I could run RunKeeper to track my progress, Couch-to-5k for the play-by-play coaching, and FitRadio (a non-stop playlist) all at the same time, so off I went.  An easy 30 minutes of alternating between jogging and walking.  Easy, right?


By 10:15 this morning it was already in the mid to high 70's and, considering I sweat laying on the couch, I hadn't even made it through my warm up walk before I was ready to jump in the pool.  I kept reminding myself that I was only running for a half an hour and I could make it through half an hour of sweating, but the first mile was rough.  In the past, running any length of time has caused a burning sensation in my calves and almost always shin splints, but after a good 2 or 3 minutes that totally eased away.  Could it be because I'm in proper shoes?  (Answer: tentative yes.)

By the time I started my last jog, I actually felt like this running thing wasn't that terrible.  Sure, I was a little out of breath, and I was definitely sweating like I had run a marathon, and I really just wanted to stop and eat a cheeseburger, but it wasn't THAT bad.

I definitely yelled a victory whoop when I saw this (and then got a really weird stare from one of my neighbors):
Definitely my favorite part of running.
Total run was 2.25 miles over roughly 34 minutes.  With an average pace of 15 mi per minute, I have a loooong way to go.  But this run wasn't that bad, and might I even say, mildly enjoyable?

Sweaty, but smiling!

One run down.  Many, many more to go.

Run: 1
Mileage: 2.25 mi
Total time: 34:23 min

Checked off bucket list: run half marathon to cure cancer.

On Sunday, January 8th, 2011, at around 11:30 pm, I was in Magic Kingdom.  I had been at Walt Disney World for 3 days and was solely functioning on Advil Cold and Sinus, coffee, and Mickey-shaped ice cream bars.  I had been up for almost 24 hours at that point, having woken up at 1:30 am to get the Team in Training walkers and runners I worked with onto busses; found myself heading to Epcot around 3am to catch the monorail; caught a short catnap in the lobby of the Polynesian around 4:30 am; and stood on an access road near Magic Kingdom by 6 am wearing a winter hat and shaking a cowbell like it was my job.  (It was, actually.)

Delirious was an understatement.

Pretty stellar group of people right here.

Because I was sleep-deprived and sugar-rushed, the magic (yup, I said it) of Magic Kingdom hit me HARD.  I was hanging out with our coach and some of the most inspiring people I know - friends who had raised thousands and thousands of dollars for blood cancer research, walked or ran 13.1 or 26.2 miles, and then agreed wholeheartedly to go ride Space Mountain with me at 11pm on the same day.  I was moved, I was tired, I was mildly functioning, and I loudly declared to them:  "next year... next year, I will run this marathon!"

Yeahh... that didn't happen.

I moved 3,010 miles, got a new job, had to learn how to cook - basically, life got in the way.  It's totally not an excuse and it bothered me all the time.  I made a promise on the alter of the House of Mouse!  Re-negging on that declaration would be tantamount to Disney execs turning Space Mountain into a Star Wars-themed ride (aka blasphemous) so I knew I had to do it someday.

Finally, two weeks ago, I signed up to run the Disneyland Half Marathon.

(I get it - its not the FULL Walt Disney World marathon, but cut me some slack!  I haven't run in MONTHS.  Baby steps, okay?)

Most importantly, I signed up to train with Team In Training.  Maybe I'm a little biased, but there is no organization I would rather train with and run for.  Why?  Because I've witnessed their success.  I've worked with patients and survivors who are still here because of the research that LLS conducts BECAUSE of the funds that TNT participants raise.  LLS recieves no federal funding, so everything they're able to do - every patient they support, every research grant they provide, every cure they are that much closer to - is all because of generous donations from YOU.

My first official training run is Saturday, May 17th.  I've got a long way to go until August 31st and I hope you'll support and join me along the way.

Lets get running.
Get Adobe Flash player