Friday, April 20, 2012

An Incredible Experience - Joellyn

I finished!! Monday was really an incredible experience. From the moment I got on the bus to go to Hopkinton to the moment I crossed the finish line. WOW, it was hot. All I could do was lather up in sun block and try and stay hydrated. At mile seven was when I started to have a mental breakdown. I realized because of the heat I was going to have to make adjustments. One of the adjustments was the fact that I would have to walk. I had never had to walk while I was running and I was having a hard time with that. I knew walking was going to slow me down considerably and it would take longer to finish. I knew I had to make a decision, quit or accept reality? I couldn’t let everyone down, especially myself. I trained four months for this moment and I had to finish. After I came to terms with that, it got easier mentally. Every time I passed over the tracking devices I thought I’m still alive and still moving.  Before I knew it I was in front of the Hospital and I knew I was almost there. Surprisingly enough Heartbreak Hill wasn’t that bad. After two more miles I saw my family. There was my husband, kids, my parents and my brother cheering me on. I high fived them all and kept going. Before I knew it there was the finish line and I was so happy. I remember crossing the finish line and being so proud of myself for setting a goal and completing it. As I hobbled along I got my foil liner, my legs were actually numb, and then I saw Freddie. He gave me a bug hug and I realized I had really done it and actually survived. 

I would like to take a moment to talk about the people I saw. The first person I saw was Robin Hood, hat with feather and all. I saw someone in a tutu and a tiara. I saw two different people in cheeseburger costumes, really? The best of the day though was the man in the short sleeved brown shirt. I would like to say he had more on than that but not much. It seems he wanted to run in a thong. Yes, that’s right a thong. I thought maybe I was hallucinating but no I was really looking at his butt.  Ha, classic!!!!
The last four months have been an incredible experience. When I look back at the things I have accomplished in those months it is truly amazing. I trained and completed the Boston Marathon. I blogged. I started back for my master's, which I got an A in the first class. And I managed to maintain a somewhat normal home life for my family.

The question I get now is will you run another marathon and what’s next? My answer to that is I don’t know. Next up is the Ruckus in June and I will continue my running. I’m thinking of doing a half marathon in Las Vegas in December. My husband may run it, I guess if you can’t beat them join them! Freddie and Sherwyn are now talking about doing the Goofy Run in Disney next year. A marathon through Disney? Now that may be fun.
I want to thank my husband and kids for putting up with me for the last four months. I know the training was hard on them but they supported me the whole way and never complained. Though on Saturday my husband looked at me and then at my feet and said “you’re lucky I love you, your feet are nasty.” Ha! Thanks to all my friends and family for everything, from start to finish you were there for me. Thanks to Freddie Sanchez for all the running he did with me and all the advice along the way. Thanks to Daniel Destin for even putting the thought in my head to run the Marathon. I can’t forget to thank Jouel and Rich, team telecom, for always giving me that extra push I needed.  Thanks to everyone at Newton-Wellesley for the words of encouragement before and after the race. It was amazing to me how many people knew I was running and then tracked me during the race. I also, want to thank everyone who was at the race cheering the runners on. If it wasn’t for you, I may not have finished. From the people who had hoses to cool the runners off, to the ones with ice or oranges, to the ones who were just there cheering, thank you!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boston Marathon Priceless! - Angela

After months of training, I am happy to report that I completed the Marathon injury fee! I knew that there were many warnings out to defer the race until next year because of the heat but….no way was I going to quit due to a little warm weather. Sunday night, I was nervous. I ate as much as I could without feeling stuffed. I drank plenty of water and a bottle of Gatorade before bed. I even consulted with my neighbor who has run several Boston Marathons and listened to all of his advice on hydrating the night before and drinking more Gatorade in the morning. I decided to spend the night at a friend’s house in Hopkinton so that I wouldn’t have to get up so early and actually slept through the night. Monday morning I ate banana pumpkin bread and a spoon full of peanut butter. I was still a little nervous and couldn’t stomach much more than that.

With so many runners at the start, I gradually picked up my pace. I can’t say that the heat didn’t affect me because it did. Thank God for the kindness of strangers with water hoses, bags of ice, orange slices and bananas along the route. I made a pact with my running partner Sherwyn Rocke that we would run at a slower pace and well we did. By the time I hit mile 23, I was done. I thought to myself, really 3.6 more to go! Ugggg! The crowd will get you going and totally motivated me to the finish along with my fellow runners who also looked as though they were starving for the finish line. After four hours and 30 minutes of walking, running and a little dancing with the local musicians, I finished! I am so grateful to Newton-Wellesley Hospital for this opportunity and can now say that I ran the Boston Marathon in extreme heat and finished strong! What a tremendous experience this has been for me and for my family.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finished! – Danielle

I'm happy to report that I finished the Boston Marathon in 4:01:32 and I made it in one piece. Thanks to all my family and friends for supporting me with donations and words of encouragement! I hope all the Newton-Wellesley team members faired well in the heat. Boy it was HOT!! Thank you Newton-Wellesley for giving me such an awesome experience. It truly was amazing.

I learned and saw a lot yesterday in those four hot hours. I figured I'd share a few. One, I had no problem peeing myself the entire race (sorry if this is too much information for some). Not all clear liquids are water (I dumped an electrolyte solution on my head). When you throw water on your face, hold your breath or risk drowning. Braiding your long hair doesn't guarantee a good hair day. The crowds the entire course are phenomenal and unrelenting cheering you on! A runner's callous is kind of like a good friend but a phantom runner running up Heartbreak Hill with you is truly a best friend (thank you to my brother-in-law Jason Kipp for jumping in!). Better yet, the phantom runner telling you, “You are running up Heartbreak” and you didn't even know it, then realizing it is not bad at all, priceless! My kids running down the back side of Heartbreak making me laugh all the way. It made me so proud they were my kids (thank you Grace and Jack Taber). The hills of Boston are easier than the hills I trained on (thank you Hopkinton, RI and Clark Falls, CT). Of course running up those hills today is NOT on my agenda! I hate Lemon/Lime Gatorade and now I do even more. Putting the song “Push It” on my Marathon mix was genius – especially when it ironically came on right as I hit the “one more mile to go” sign (thank you to my friend Brian Caron). A shower close by the finish line after you realize you smell like a backed up septic system is a God send (thank you to my sister, Andrea and her husband for staying in town). The thought about hiring someone to remove my running gear from the laundry bag has crossed my mind. Going downstairs the day after the race is more torture than the race itself. Lastly, when I thought I was getting tired, someone from above was pushing me on (thank you, dad; must of been your handkerchief I held for all 26.2 miles!!). Thank you to my husband, Steve and my children, Grace, Jack and Lidia who have put up with all this from the beginning and were there at the end!

As I drove home from Boston yesterday exhausted, I thought to myself, I can't imagine doing another marathon. Today I'm thinking, if it would have been a cooler day, I think I could have met the qualifying time of 3:45:00 as my pace in the heat was 30-45 seconds more per mile. I wasn't disappointed at all in my time though, and very grateful I am not suffering any ill affects from the heat, but I am thinking that a qualifying race may be close in my future!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime - Joellyn

Things have been crazy lately with the race fast approaching. I have not be running as long or as much, trying to give my legs a break. It’s weird to not run over 16 miles on the weekend now, I feel a little lost. Everyday I have an urge to run because I think I have to. It’s what I have done for four months and it will be a hard mental habit to break. I will never stop running just not as much.

We are days away from the race and I can’t wait. Everyone wants to know if I’m ready? Well, it has been a long four months of training. I can honestly say that I have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into preparing for this moment. I have run who knows how many miles and gone through two pairs of sneakers. I have had to sacrifice family time to do my long runs. I have missed nights out with my friends because I had a race the next day. I cut back on classes for school so I could accommodate my running schedule. I have trained in 10 degree weather and now 70 degree weather. My body has taken a beating and I would do it all over again. The chance of a lifetime is days away and I couldn’t me more ready.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Final Stretch!! - Angela

Well this has been quite a journey for me and I am very grateful for all of the family and friend support as I trained for the honor of running in the Boston Marathon. I can’t say that this has been easy but I will say that when you set your mind to something and your determined to follow through it is amazing what you can accomplish. As I reflect back to when I was first notified that my name was picked to run, I was very excited. Although I just completed a marathon a couple of months prior and I hadn’t completely recovered, I knew that this was an opportunity of a lifetime and I would do whatever it took to train for it. I am sure that there are many stories on why and how people are running the Marathon and all of the challenges they faced during their training. My training and challenges do not even compare. But I will say that without the support of my husband who continues to encourage me I probably would not have come this far. So in closing, I want to wish all the fellow runners good luck on Monday. Pray for great weather! Get lots of rest this week and remember mind over matter – If you don’t mind it won’t matter…

Monday, April 2, 2012

Final Two Weeks - Danielle

I started out last week hoping to run my last long run on Monday. I woke up that morning and quickly realized that my legs felt a bit tired, not sure from what though. I still set out as usual and as I expected, my long run turned into a shorter, 14.5-mile run. I was somewhat disappointed and looking at the week ahead, I had no time to re-attempt the long run until Sunday. I felt somewhat defeated but planned to try again Sunday. I told my woes to my friends at work and of course by the end of the day, I had gotten words of encouragement and reinforcement. I definitely left feeling much better than I did arriving.

Like Joellyn, I am having some regular dreams (or should I say nightmares) about the Marathon. I have had the "I can't get to the starting line, no matter how hard I try" dream. I've had the "I can't find my sneakers or number the day of the race" dream. I have also had the "I grab the
wrong sneakers the day of the race" dream. So needless to say, the psychological aspect of the run is in full swing!

I managed to squeeze in nine miles Thursday and let my legs rest until Sunday. I set out to run a long run early that morning and did 21.3 miles. That felt good under my belt so to speak. As I ran, I thought of how many miles my sneakers had run, where they had run and what I had seen. The country roads are horrible, I've seen many hills - up and down, I've seen cows, horses, goats; I've seen a lot of "road kill" including a tail of what likely was attached to a squirrel at one time. I've run by manure piles...need I say more. And let's not forget the several stormings of random unleashed dogs. I've returned home with the bottom of my sneakers smelling worse that my daughter's shin guards (and let me tell you, those things smell bad)! All in all, I would say it has been a good journey, interesting, but good.

My week ended in a farewell to my physical therapist. The facility was shut down permanently on Friday. I was sad to leave having a few weeks until the Marathon but Justin has done me well. I ran the miles and he helped me build the "hard body" to endure them. My last request before I left was for he and I to do planks together. He agreed to be a good sport!

So in the final two weeks before the Marathon, I'm going to keep moving and taper as planned. I'll be praying for no major changes in the weather as well.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ups and Downs - Kirsty

This has been a week full of ups and downs in terms of my running. I have finally been able to do some "test" runs to see how my foot would hold up now that it has had some time to recover with intensive physical therapy, rest and cross-training. The only problem is that because of this
injury, my mileage is nowhere near where it should have been at this point in my training plan.

I did a very short test run last weekend of two miles and it felt pretty much fine - I was very nervous about doing more mileage as the last time I ran I could barely walk for two to three days after. I was pleased to get out running, albeit short. I tried another five miles on Monday, which again went ok, I could feel the pain start to increase after around mile four but it was manageable. We decided to up it yesterday to see how much I could take and I was able to do eight miles with increasing pain after about four and a half miles. The problem is that once my heel and arch start hurting, I start running on the outside of my foot and then the pain just starts going up my ankle and the outside of my leg - not good either! Again, I was pleased that I was able to increase the distance a little but it is nowhere near the 20 miles I should be at by now. My biggest issue right now is that after I run, later in the evening, after icing and stretching and rest, the pain gets so unbearable that I can't even take a step - last night I compared it to two days after a C-section trying to walk without pain meds. It was so bad I was in tears. A couple of Advil, stretching and it felt a little better this morning. I was back at physical therapy again today for some more stretching and some rather mean massage on my calf. I won't be doing any more running between now and the Boston Marathon :-(. I will be doing some cross training and my goal right now is to get half way. If I can make it to half way without too much discomfort, I will try to get to Newton-Wellesley and take it from there. It is probably the most I can hope for at this point and without causing myself long-term injury.

Team Telecom - Joellyn

It’s been a while since I blogged, I’m a little behind. I feel like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day, I feel like I do the same thing every day. I wake up and I think about running, I run and then I fall asleep thinking about running. I have a poster in my office with someone sleeping in their bed
and a pair of sneakers at the end of the bed saying “Get Up! Time To Run!” This pretty much sums up what I feel like. Did I mention I’m now having dreams about the race? I had one dream that on race day I didn’t have my number because a Newton-Wellesley employee’s brother accidently took it?? Really?? We are down to about 2 ½ weeks and the whole race is surreal to me. Not sure how I will function after the race with so much free time.

Let’s get down to training. I ran 18 miles about two weeks ago, down along the Charles. It was a great run but I couldn’t remember where I parked. All I could remember was I was on Soldiers Field Rd. somewhere. Luckily I found it and survived the run. The rest of that week was the same. I ran a few four-mile runs and an eight-mile run that included Heart Break Hill. This week was 14 miles on Saturday down along Cape Cod Canal. I’m running out of places to do these long runs, good thing we are almost done. I ran four miles on Tuesday and sprints on the treadmill on Wednesday and hope to do eight miles today, which will include Heartbreak Hill. Not sure what I
will run on Saturday, 14 or 12?

I would like to thank Team Telecom for their constant support and words of encouragement. Maybe support and encouragement aren’t the best words to describe it. It seems that they would like to design what I will wear on race day. Although I appreciate the concern the answer would be NO. All I can say it involved the color yellow and feathers, really? Also, me finishing the race in the back of the truck isn’t happening either. They were also kind enough to print out the medical stations along the route as well as the Boston Marathon medical record so I knew what to expect. I did find the article on exercise and associated disorders interesting. They are trying to be tricky with their reverse psychology and it’s working.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time to Cut Back – Danielle

I had a good week last week. I set out to do my long run last Tuesday. My goal at the start of my Marathon training was to run at least 22 to 23 miles once before the big day and I made it! I set out with my energy beans and a Gatorade at the end of my drive way and when all was said and done, I had run 23.3 miles in three hours, 32 minutes. I have to say, at the end of that, I couldn't imagine doing another step. I was quite sore the rest of the day and the next day as well. I ran a short nine miles on Thursday, and 11.5 on Saturday. Now it's time to cut back. With the Marathon less than three weeks away, my plan is to do less mileage but keep my stride so to speak. It's now a mental and physical hurdle for me. I think cutting back will be difficult. I found myself walking on a treadmill between two people running and I so wanted to start running but I knew I needed to take the day off.

This is also my last week at physical therapy. The center I go to is closing. I have mixed emotions about not going on a regular basis up until the race but my therapist said he would remain available if anything crops up before or after the end of the race. I will continue to do my physical therapy at home.

As for the home front, everyone has been sick except for me...knock on wood. Strep throat, pneumonia and colds are running rampant. My laundry is out of control, the dust bunnies are now attacking, and I am having a hard time keeping everyone's schedule straight. I went to pick up my daughter at track and forgot she already had a ride! I'm actually ready to run this race and get back some time so things can get back to being more organized in my house.

Monday, March 26, 2012

20 Mile Run! – Angela

What an awesome run! I ran my 20 miles with a lot of hesitation but I was so excited to see so many runners out on Saturday morning. My husband and son dropped me off in Hopkinton and to my surprise, I saw so many running groups with the same plan. Sacony had tents at the start line along with at least 10 port a johns. I even saw Tedy Bruschi and his wife running. Along the running path, there were so many supporters that handed out water, Gatorade and small snacks for all the runners. This was so inspiring. I must admit that my hamstring is still bothering me but I completed my run without much pain. My meal the night before was grilled chicken and rice and the morning of the run was a bagel. Not enough food…I was STARVING once I hit 12 miles. I am not a fan of the GU but I had some bubble gum, which gave me a sugar burst. So now that I have completed the 20-mile run, I realize that the night before I need to load up on more carbs and eat more in the morning. My plan is to attend an information session on Monday night on running the Marathon, which will provide nutrition information. I definitely need to figure out what foods will work for me since I am not a big fan of pasta. Overall, I am looking forward to Marathon Monday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Motivation Kicking In – Kirsty

This past week I've been trying to continue my training on the elliptical (I was still on my two-week hiatus from running for plantar fasciitis). I have to admit that I have struggled with motivation this past week combined with a horrible cold that went from my head to my chest. Standing on the elliptical for a couple of hours has been my limit…I just have a hard time staring at the wall for more than two hours. I am trying music and tried to visualize where I would be on the Marathon route but it is like time goes way more slowly on that piece of equipment. I also had a good grumble with my neighbor yesterday morning. She is also running the Marathon and just developed shin splints.

I've been continuing physical therapy twice a week and I can say that after two weeks of no running, taping my foot every day, inserts in my sneakers and twice daily stretching and icing that it is feeling a little better. I still have a hard time if I do a lot of walking or standing on my feet (or three hours of yard work!), but it is not nearly as bad as the day I ran 13 miles and then couldn't take a step.

This past weekend I progressed to 30 minutes of alternating one minute running/one minute walking. I was psyched to get back on the road but once I started I found it very hard to get back in a rhythm. I think it was the alternating walking/jogging and the inserts in my shoes but I just couldn't get into a good pace. I debated about just jogging the whole way but figured I should follow physical therapist’s orders or I would be taking a step backwards.

My motivation seems to have kicked in a little today. I think picking up my lovely shirt from Public Affairs (thank you!) helped renew my spirit so tomorrow I am going to put that shirt on and do my 30 minutes followed by two hours on the elliptical or maybe the bike for some variety. I can't fix my heel overnight but I can certainly make sure I am fit enough to do this Marathon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Super Crazy Week – Danielle

Not too much to report this week other than things are super crazy at my house. Training for the Marathon and handling everything at home with the three kids, their busy schedules and work on top has made me realize that it is good thing there is an end in sight. I am enjoying my runs despite everything though. I was not super thrilled when my daughter Grace announced that she was going to join the track team, which added to the craziness but agreed to it anyway. So with five soccer practices, four soccer games, five track practices, two to three days working, two physical therapy appointments per week on top of just the everyday stuff, I decided the only thing I can do is take a deep breath and run with it (no pun intended). I know the Marathon will be here in about four weeks and hopefully I will get a few hours of time back to myself to
reduce the craziness in my life right now.

On a bit of a sad note, we experienced another loss in my family, my uncle, my mom's brother, passed away Sunday. She of course is still trying to deal with the loss of my dad. I head up to Maine yet again for another funeral.

On a happier note, I continue to run three times a week and do some strength training two to three days per week. My youngest came down with pneumonia this past week, so fitting in my three runs got a bit tricky. I was thankful for my sitter who kindly came over short notice so I could keep my running schedule half way normal. My physical therapy has definitely been a huge help in regards to my body awareness and body mechanics. I was saddened to find out that the place I go to is closing in about four weeks but I'm thankful that it should be open until Marathon day. My runs this week included a 14-mile run, a six-mile run and a 21-mile run that I did in three hours and 12 minutes. I have no idea what is good time or bad but all in all, I was happy with my accomplishment. I was also feeling good about tolerating the energy beans during my long run. They are very easy to carry along but my biggest complaint is that chewing jelly beans and running really isn't as easy as it sounds. I was a bit worried about aspirating these darn things, but they work, so they will be with me on the big day and if something happens and I start to choke, I'm certain with all the people around, someone will save me!!

My goal this week, add another one to two miles to my long run. This is where I want to be pre-marathon, at 22 to 23 miles. I also plan on putting my patch on my running jersey this week and finding someone to scan a picture of my dad on the shirt as well. Lastly, I am working on my Marathon music list. Right now I have too many slower songs and I think it’s dragging me down. Time to step it up a beat or two! I'm starting to get very excited for the big day! See everyone next week.

Reality Check – Joellyn

I have been slacking on my blog! I think it’s because I don’t have a lot to report on. I haven’t done a long run since the 20 miles in Salem. I do plan to run 20+ miles tomorrow on the Esplanade. I can’t get enough of this nice weather and running outside. This will be my last long run until
the race, hooray! Time to start tapering off.

I have been running shorter distances in faster times as well as working out at Shipley. I have had some pain in my hip so I have been holding off the longer runs to give it some time to heal. The pain seems to be gone and that’s why I’m going for the 20 tomorrow. I had a reality check this morning when I was talking to Kristy Leigh Berksza at the gym. She asked how many more Fridays until the race? FOUR, and I don’t mean golf! Only four more and then it will be time to
run those 26.2 miles that we have been training for. Part of me can’t wait but the other part of me is freaking out. Kristy reminded me of how great I will feel when it’s over and it truly is something to be proud of.

I have been obsessed with running for the past three months. I wake up and I think ok, how far do I have to run today. What’s my plan for the week? How many miles? How fast? As we get closer to the race I’m thinking about what I’m going to wear or what will I do with my hair. Yes, I really do think about that. When you are running 20 miles you think about a lot of
things. I think will I run after the Marathon? Do I ever want to run another marathon again? What will I do will all this free time when the Marathon is over? All these crazy thoughts run through my head and whole lot more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Family Cold Virus – Danielle

This week was pretty status quo for me. I ran three times, a nine, an 11 and 17-mile run. I made no records this week and managed to catch the “family cold virus”. I was the last one down and I thought I had escaped it but by Thursday it invaded my body in good shape. I was glad that I had already done the long run of the week. I had just one last run to do which was my 11-mile loop. It was tough and I did it yesterday. It was another windy Sunday. It seems all the Sunday's since I started training have been windy. I guess it was good that it wasn't super cold out. I awoke feeling tired, my head stuffed up and knew I had a busy soccer Sunday but I also needed to get that last run in. I knew in my gut I was in for a tough run and sure enough, the minute I set out, my legs felt like they had fifty pounds weights on them and it never changed the entire run. As I was on mile eight, Michael Jackson's song “Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough” came on and all I was thinking in my head was that I had had enough already about eight miles ago. I pushed on to the end but my body took until this morning to recover.

So I start out this week a bit skeptical since my cold is lingering and I am tired. I think I'll leave the long run for the end of the week and hope by then my head has cleared of this cold nonsense. Honestly, if a cold is my only problem, I really have nothing to complain about. I wish Angela and Kirsty the best of luck getting through their injuries. Looks like Joellyn had a good week last week; congratulations on finishing two big races! Catch you all next week. I'll try to upload the patches that my daughter designed in memory of my dad. They came in the mail over the weekend and look awesome. I can't wait to put it on my running jersey.

Great Running Weather – Angela

Time waits on no one. One month and three days left! I can’t believe that the Marathon is so close. I have to say that we have been so fortunate to have such a mild winter. Yesterday was my 18-mile run and I have to say that the weather was wonderful. I continue to have some challenges with my hamstring and I did stop a couple times to walk and hydrate. Overall the run was great. My husband and son dropped me off in Hopkinton to start my 18-mile run and I ran home. It was kind of ironic because I typically run with my friend Sherwin but we slept in (time change). When my husband dropped me off, I ran right into my running group I guess time was on our side after all. My diet has been pretty good and since I am not a big fan of pasta, I had rice with chicken and white beans for dinner. Not too bad and I did feel pretty energized. This week looks like an awesome week to run and I am looking forward to running in the morning due to the unseasonable weather we are having.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Detour – Kirsty

To cut a long story short I am on a “detour” for the next two weeks – this is the description that Cody from physical therapy gave me this week for the two-week running sabbatical that I am on. I finally met up with Garth and Cody in physical therapy for an evaluation of the plantar fasciitis that had me slowed to a halt at mile 13 of my 16-mile run over a week ago. The good news is that I am cross-training on the elliptical and it doesn't seem to be bothering my plantar fasciitis too much. I am becoming good friends with my elliptical (thankfully we have one at home that we bought six years ago after my son was born – at least it is getting some use now). However, I am not altogether enthusiastic about being on it for four or five hours this weekend!

Last week I went on the elliptical twice before seeing a physical therapist. I probably spent most of last week limping and it was clear to me that there was no way I could run. I did a couple of hour-long sessions on the elliptical last week and then saw Garth for some informal physical therapy at the end of the week. I have my foot and arch taped every day and have a few stretches to do twice a day. I decided to try a short five miles on Saturday to see how it felt. I planned to do the second half on soft ground to keep any problems to a minimum. I managed the five miles but could feel myself compensating for the pain in my heel. Needless to say on Saturday evening, I couldn't even walk across my living room despite ice, stretching and Advil! On Sunday I was scheduled for a 17-mile long run so I substituted two hours on the elliptical. After getting over the boredom in the first half hour I actually enjoyed it.

On Monday, I saw Cody for a formal evaluation. It turns out I have less range of motion on my right side (the side that hurts) but it's hard to tell if it's a result of limping around for a week and a half or if that's what's causing my plantar fasciitis. I'll be seeing Cody twice a week and for now I have not to do any running for two weeks. I am obviously extremely nervous about the potential of missing all my long runs but I'm trying my best to take it one day and one week at a time. My main goal right now is to get back to running before the Marathon and at least be able to cover enough distance to feel comfortable starting the race. For now though I have to do two hours on the elliptical tomorrow and then a mammoth four to five hours this weekend. At least I'll be home and can stop for the odd refreshment and possibly put a movie on at the same time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Itching to Run – Danielle

After a 13-mile run a week ago this past Sunday, I took three days off until my next run Thursday. I did some strength training and physical therapy in between. By Wednesday, I was itching to go running but my schedule was too crazy and I didn't have anyone to help out with my youngest. With plenty of time in between runs, I had a lot of time to think about what I was going to run on Thursday. I decided to go for the big one. It was a perfect overcast day, no wind and mild temperature. I was also looking forward to trying out my new waterproof arm band for my iPhone. I cannot run without music and the last race I did in the rain was the end of that phone for good. My plan was to run either 18.7 miles or 21.7 miles. I ran a 13-mile loop back to my house where I had left some Gatorade for hydration. I made it back, drank half the Gatorade and took off again heading for either my 5.7 loop or 8.7 mile loop. When I eventually reached the “decision” point in the run, I decided to go for it. I made it to what I call my “Heartbreak Hill”, a 3/4 mile long gradual incline at about mile 20. I just wanted to make it to the top and I eventually did but it was a killer. I had to stop after 21 miles. My muscles just wouldn't go any further but I was super happy my accomplishment.

I ran the 21 miles in three hours, four minutes. This included a much needed hop in the woods to empty my bladder and my pit stop for hydration. The route included several small inclines and I ran my 3/4 mile hill twice. I was toying with running Heartbreak Hill before the Marathon but I've decided I'd much rather not know what exactly to expect; which I think will keep my anxiety about the whole thing at bay.

I managed to pull myself together in an hour after my big run for a physical therapy session. I am finding that the more conditioned I am and the better I eat and hydrate, the less time it takes for my body to recover. I was quite sore for about 24 hours after the run but by Saturday I was itching for another run. I ran a fast paced nine and called it a day.

My biggest issue now is to figure out how to get some nourishment during running to help me finish out the last miles. My leg muscles were giving out pretty good at the end of that long run but I only drank eight ounces of fluid during the whole time. I put an order for the energy beans (they seem to get better reviews re: stomach upset). My next task is to see if they work. I'll let you know next week.

I'm heading to Maine mid-week. Looks like I may be running in some chilly weather! Wishing and hoping the best to all the other runners who were having a tough time. I hope you are all recovering and got in some good running last week.

Your Attitude is you Altitude! – Angela

I am a firm believer that if you have a negative attitude your results will be negative! I continue to maintain a positive attitude about work and my training schedule. Well, this week I managed to run my short and long run. I will continue to nurse my injury and power through my long runs. My husband rewarded my hard training with a Garmin watch, which tracks my pace and my distance (pretty cool). I am not so obsessed with my pace because I now just want to finish the Marathon strong so I completed my 12-mile run in a little over two hours. Unlike my usual runs with a running partner or with my running group, I decided to take it alone this week to be with my thoughts. I’m glad I did this because I focused on my breathing and what the week will look like for training. I typically would not do this but something about this run, I needed to be alone with my thoughts and feel good about what I am doing. With that being said, I am scheduled to run 18 miles this weekend so now I have to think about what my dinner will be since I am not a big pasta fan. I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and pumpkin muffins, which is what I had when I ran the New York so maybe some sweet potatoes and veggies with a chicken breast for dinner and pumpkin muffin/bread for breakfast before the 18-mile run?

I Can Do It! – Joellyn

I have been slacking on my blog! Let me start with Sunday February 26. I had a half marathon that day and I hadn’t done a long run in two weeks. I had never experienced a race like this. There were people everywhere, over 5000 runners. Traffic was insane getting there and the crowds weren’t much better. I managed to get my number and get to the starting area by 10:00. There were all kinds there. I saw women in tutus, a man in cut off shorts carrying a football and another running in bare feet. It was quite the people watching event and it made the 13.1 mile run go by pretty quickly. I finished in two hours eight minutes and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for less than two hours but I guess you can’t have everything.

The rest of the week was pretty routine. Tuesday, I ran six miles during my lunch break. Thursday and Friday I did the treadmill for a half hour both days. I’m going to run outside Tuesday and Thursday this week for a total of 12 miles. On Friday I will get on the treadmill for 30 minutes and either do sprints or try to increase my pace. With the Marathon only six weeks away it’s time to add another day of running.

Let’s talk about yesterday. Yesterday was The Black Cat race in Salem, MA. It was either a 10 or 20-mile run. I signed up for the 20! I met Sherwyn and Freddie, my secret service, at Newton-Wellesley at 6:00 am. As my alarm went off at 4:30 Sunday morning, it felt like a regular work day. As I was driving to meet them I realized that I actually pay for this. We got to Salem, got all registered and were ready for the 8:00 start. I saw another tutu, a man in a kilt and a few people in tank tops and shorts. The first 10 miles there were a lot of runners. What I didn’t realize is how many people weren’t running 20 miles. It definitely thinned out and it was a little lonely. It didn’t help that the road was now open to traffic. It was a little scary running with traffic zipping by you at 40 plus miles an hour.

It took me about to mile three before I found my stride. I was averaging about a 9.2 minute mile and I was pretty happy. At mile 10 I tried some of that Power Bar Gel Kona Punch. Can you say yuck? I don’t even know how to describe it but never again. I hit the wall around mile 16. My pace slowed to around a 10-minute mile and I couldn’t seem to speed up. At that point all I wanted to do was walk but I realized that just slowing down my legs were already tightening. I knew that if I walked I would never start again. I finished the 20 miles at three hours and nine minutes and was happy to be done. I accomplished two of the three goals I had set. My first goal was to finish on my own two feet, no truck! The second was to not walk, though my 10-minute pace probably looked like I was walking. The third was to come in under three hours but I finished.

As soon as I finished I realized I had a problem. How was I going to step up onto the curb? Yes, I looked at the curb and was pretty sure it was the size of Mt. Everest. My left leg hurt, a lot! I went back to the car, changed and sat and cranked the heat. I must have sat in there for 10 minutes before I decided I should go look for Sherwyn and Freddie. I was really hoping I wasn’t going to have to walk to find them but no such luck. The three of us were all walking slow and taking inventory of the various body parts that hurt. Freddie had two big cuts on his back from where his shirt was rubbing. Sherwyn didn’t bleed but was in some pain. As soon as we got in the car, we turned the heat up full blast and it stayed that way all the way back to Newton-Wellesley. It’s amazing how cold you are right after running that long. I feel pretty good today, though my left leg still hurts a little. I know after running that 20-mile race I can do the Marathon!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tough Week – Kirsty

Before I started writing this week's post I read the blogs that the other ladies had posted this week. I fear that I am only going to add to the gloom although Danielle, you sound like you had a fantastic week!

This week my plantar fasciitis went from bad to worse. It was not by best week by any stretch, it was certainly my worst. I completed a seven-mile and five-mile run last week and did a little cross training on the bike one day. I was gearing up for my 16 miles on Sunday and actually looking forward to the challenge. I knew I could do it and it would be the furthest I had run. My son's basketball resumed after the school break on Saturday morning so I had to switch my long run back to Sunday. I got up and out early around 6.30 am as my youngest was just starting to wake up (I knew if I went into her room it would be at least another hour before I left the house).

I had packed my fuel belt the night before and was planning to try out some Gu as well as some music for after mile 10 when the novelty of peace and quiet starts to wear off! My plan was to also try and take some strategic “stretching breaks” to just keep my plantar fasciitis at bay. I ran the first five and turned to head west again and felt fine. I tried out the Gu at around the five-mile mark and it was pretty disgusting! It's like thick, sickly sweet sludge! I think I will try to stick to my Gatorade or maybe a bite of a Clif bar from now on. At about the eight-mile mark my heel pain started nagging again and I could feel myself change my gait. I stretched out a little, walked a little and got back to jogging. By mile 10 I was wrestling in my head whether I was better to stop short and prevent further injury or to go the distance no matter what. All along I have been telling myself this is a mental race after 10 miles. Of course I decided that distance was more important than injury prevention! I turned on my music and Lady Gaga came on to help me through the next two miles. Around mile 12 I was getting to my turning point at Speen Street in Natick and all I could think was “where’s that bench by the lake, it must be coming up soon.” The pain in my heel was so bad I could barely walk. I never found the bench and half a mile short I turned back for home. I managed to hobble another two miles before the pain started travelling up the outside of my leg. At this point it was painful to walk and I was barely even walking. I bit the bullet and called my husband to come pick me up – a mile from my house. I couldn't even make it the last mile.

I got home feeling disappointed in myself. My almost-two year old must have missed me that morning and she decided it was time for a full-on, face-in-the-rug meltdown. I think we both shed a couple of tears! Later in the afternoon after some ice, Advil and stretching I think I pulled myself together! First thing on Monday I emailed Garth in physical therapy so we could make a plan. In the meantime I have been hobbling around the office, complaining that I feel like a 90-year-old and will be doing a fair bit on the elliptical. I am hoping to do a shorter run later this week if I can. I think I could deal with two weeks of cross-training if I had to! I think someone wrote on the board in the Shipley Fitness Center, “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger” – those are the words I have been repeating to myself over and over this week!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Week in the Keys – Danielle

Well it's been two weeks since I posted. I've recovered from what I now term "whatever it was" a few weeks ago and continue to push forward training. The week before I set out for vacation in Florida, I ran three times. I did 13 miles one day, nine the next and then pushed through a 17-mile long run. That was tough because I purposefully made mile 16 and 17 a hill run. The country roads around here are full of those long, gradual hills, so it is fairly easy to make it happen. Of course my time on the hills was probably slower than if I would have walked them, but I made it home and that's all that counts. Of course, Justin was a bit surprised when I showed up at physical therapy that day. When he asked me how I felt, I said, "Fine but everything from the waist down is sore!" I explained to him my day. He decided that day was going to be more of stretching session and not much of anything else. I actually felt great after I left. Hence, stretching well after a long run is very important. On Friday the 17th, my family set out on a vacation to the Florida Keys with three other families. The weather was beautiful and the company superb. I, of course, could not even think about sitting at a computer the whole week aside from uploading all the great photos being taken. So I missed a post. During the week in the Keys, I ran a total of 42 miles, all of which ended up being short runs averaging six to seven miles. We were going to bed late and getting up late. I thought it would be great running in warm weather, but I quickly realized that running in 80-plus degree weather in the direct sunlight with minimal wind was clearly more difficult than running in seven degree weather in RI. So runs were short. I returned home to new running shoes, threw them on Sunday, and ran 13 in the cooler weather. Much better! I'm realizing time is flying and I still have a lot to do. I'm far from my 22 to 23 mile goal. When you run 17 and stop, it's hard to think you still would have nine more to go. I have reached one goal though. I'm $100 shy of reaching $1000 for the Cancer Center. Of course I'd like to raise more, but it feels good knowing that I was able to raise the suggested amount. I am super grateful to all the wonderful people who have donated and are supporting me in my run! Lastly, with March approaching, I enter what I call "March Madness" in my house. It happens each year and the madness has nothing to do with basketball but everything to do with soccer. It's when indoor soccer overlaps with outdoor soccer for about four weeks. Two kids, five teams....practices, games, three tournaments. This is going to be interesting. I'm definitely going to have to manage my time well to get in all the physical therapy and runs I can. I'll let you know how I make out!

Trying to Get Better - Angela

This week has been more challenging than others. I continue to go to therapy for my hamstring and my runs have gotten better. This week I skipped the long run and decided to continue to work on stretching and hope that next week will turn out to be better. Sorry to not have more to report! I too am saddened by all of this and can not understand why I am not feeling better.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sidelined - Joellyn

This was not a good week. I caught the cold that has been going around and it sidelined me for the weekend. I didn’t run, there I said it. I was disappointed in myself but I just didn’t have the strength to do it. Of course now I’m freaking out trying to figure out how I can make the week up.

What amazes me is how many people asked how the running was going. When I told them that I took the weekend off the response was nothing short of comedy. Some had a look of horror, as if I just slapped the queen. Others looked at me disappointingly, like I had just let them down. The best response was, “well, it looks like you will be finishing the Marathon in the back of the truck.” Really?? Haha I laughed. All of the above is what I like to call tough love. Nice to know people are concerned but I will be finishing the Marathon on my own two feet thank you.

The past week was not a total waste. I still somehow made it to the gym every day. I did manage to run six miles on Wednesday and another two miles this morning. Both days I felt like I had medicine head and just wasn’t really with it. I have a half marathon in Hyannis on Sunday and I can’t wait. It’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and get serious.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going the Distance – Kirsty

This week was fairly uneventful (which I guess is a good week in terms of Marathon training!) other than this lingering plantar fasciitis, which I must take care of this week as twice daily stretching isn't doing a whole lot to improve the situation!

Last Tuesday I had a seven-mile run scheduled so I decided it was time once again to run Heartbreak Hill. It was a great day to be out, the temperature was perfect. I have been trying to figure out if I can get some more speed up before the Marathon as some of these runs are taking me so long. I tried to do a run-walk the other day but I feel like I lose my momentum so I am going to stick with my slow steady pace! At this point, only eight weeks off the Marathon, I think my focus has to remain on just covering the distance rather than worrying about how long it's going to take me.

On Thursday I was supposed to do another seven miles but I just wasn't feeling like more of the same so I got on the treadmill and did a shorter distance at a slightly faster pace, which was a good change. On Saturday I headed out at 7:00 am for my 12-mile run. The weather was gorgeous and the birds were chirping; it felt like spring! I headed west from Wellesley College to Speen Street in Natick and turned there and headed back through Wellesley. As I reached Speen Street, a coach full of runners pulled into a parking lot. I spent the next couple of miles wondering when they would come thundering down behind me but it wasn't until I got back to Wellesley College that about 20 people dressed in costumes - everything from batman to ninja turtles and Spiderman - ran by me. I turned around at the new Whole Foods in Wellesley for my last two miles home. My feet were hurting (read plantar fasciitis) so I headed home on the Crosstown Trail thinking that might help. I had to stop and walk and stretch out my heel and calves and figured it was just as uncomfortable walking so I may as well plod the rest of the way home! I made it back and a couple of ibuprofen and some more stretching seemed to help a lot. On Saturday night my husband and I had a babysitter and went out for dinner - it felt good to have a great meal, a margarita and feel like I earned it!

This weekend is 16 miles so I will be intrigued to see how that goes. It will be the furthest I have ever run and only a taster for the 20 miler coming up in the next few weeks. My focus this weekend will need to be keeping up my energy after a couple of hours and stopping for stretch breaks. I've ordered some Gu (the thought of which makes my stomach turn) and Jelly Beans to see if those will help out; hopefully they'll arrive before the weekend!

Endurance Not Speed! – Angela

This week has been a bit of a challenge due to the ongoing injury that I am still trying to work out. I have about three knots in my lower back that are affecting my hamstring. I am now at a point that I am working with a chiropractor to work out the kinks. I took the week off from running this week and just taught spin on Tuesday and Thursday morning to give my back and hamstring a little rest. So now it is Sunday and I am challenged with running 15 miles. I must confess that I was very emotional this morning prior to my run due to the ongoing pain that I am facing. However, I did much stretching along with Arnica gel. I met my running partner Sherwin at City Sports in Wellesley. City Sports transported us to Hopkinton the start of the Marathon and we took off. Unbelievable but I did it! Did I feel the pain of the knots in my hamstring? Absolutely, but I fought through it. We finished our 15 miles in record time of running an average 9.2. I am totally satisfied with my time. I am not sure when I will feel 100 percent but I am looking forward to running without pain. So tomorrow I have another appointment with my chiropractor and I am crossing my fingers that by Wednesday I will be able to run my scheduled four miles without the aggravation.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Key Word Is Breeze - Joellyn

Here we go again, another week gone. We are just under nine weeks until the Marathon, where does the time go? The past week has been pretty consistent with the prior weeks, madness. Most of the time I don’t know if I’m coming or going and I seem to be OK with that.

I did my long run on Sunday morning; I left the house around 7:30. My plan was to run 16.2 miles and loop through Kingston and Plymouth. I was around the half-way point on a very busy road when I saw two little kids on the side of the road. Now, this is a busy road, its 9:00 am in the morning and it’s 25 degrees. My first thought was what kind of parent would allow this? Then I realized that they were my kids and my husband had brought them so they could cheer me on. My son brought me a bottle of water and a few hugs and kisses later I was off. I felt pretty good at that point and thought the second half would be a breeze. Key word is breeze, which is what I was running into down by the water. I felt like I was running in slow motion when the wind blew. My left leg started to hurt so I had to stop every so often to stretch it out. I finished the 16.2 miles in less than three hours and was glad to be done.

Tuesday morning I was supposed to run with Freddie Sanchez, but my body vetoed that. I couldn’t seem to function and ended up being two hours late for work. Sorry Freddie, maybe next week? Needless to say Tuesday ended up being an off day.

Thursday I did sprints on the treadmill. Did I mention how much I dislike the treadmill? I’m not sure if is the fact that the stop button is so close or I feel like a hamster running in the wheel. Regardless, I would rather be outside.

On the days I don’t run I’m usually am at the gym, I do take Saturdays off. By taking Saturday off I mean I don’t do any physical exercise. Instead, I run around getting the kids to karate, various birthday parties or play dates. If I’m not doing that I’m doing errands, cleaning, laundry, homework......does the fun ever end?

I have a 10K on Saturday in Plymouth and am debating on a long run on Sunday. I think Sunday will depend on if it’s going to snow or not. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back on the Road – Danielle

I finally hit the pavement last Thursday for the first time in eight days. I was six pounds lighter and boy could I tell. I think all six pounds were totally muscle by the way my legs felt. I was able to run nine miles despite my legs feeling like Jell-o. On Saturday I ran six and on Sunday I squeezed out 13 (a painful 13 that is). With my thyroid wreaking havoc, my breathing by mile 11 gets a bit labored. In general, my muscles usually fatigue long before my breathing becomes an issue. I plan on discussing different medication options with my doctor ASAP!

I decided to dip into what I call my father's polypharmacy that he left after he passed away. Tucked deep in the cabinet amongst several prescription drugs was a large container of Muscle Milk. He took it religiously when he was sick. I decided a dose a day of this will hopefully bring back the muscle and some of the weight I lost over the past week. The stuff is not that bad!

I continue to do physical therapy with Justin G. He is good motivation and is helping me realize my core has a lot of work and my balance is a far cry from perfect. I'm hoping in the end it helps improve my running form for races to come. All the insurance co-pays are worth it!

I'm heading to the Keys on Friday but I will keep up with my running schedule and physical therapy exercises during my vacation. I'm looking forward to running in summer gear. After my return, my husband is going to do hill training with me. He has been a runner most of his life. Not sure why he hasn't done a marathon yet because he definitely could do one much easier than I.

Lastly, I just want to say "Hi" to all the ladies blogging. I love reading your posts and you are an inspiration to me to continue onward!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lessons Learned - Kirsty

I learned a few lessons this weekend. Running for three hours in 18 degree weather with significant wind chill was not a lot of fun! I guess we've been pampered this winter with mild weather and plenty of sun. I decided to do my shorter run on Saturday morning at 6:00 am as the forecast was for the snow to increase in the morning. Having little experience running in snow this season I thought it best to run early rather than risk injury falling on slippery streets. I had a great short run and picked up a little speed over my usual slower longer-run pace. The snow never seemed to materialize but at least the run was out of the way.

Sunday morning I went out early as planned as I knew my longer run was going to take me between 2 to 3 hours. It was 18 degrees out and much colder than I expected. I left my house at around 7:00 am and started out past Wellesley College heading toward Newton. There was barely a soul out - they must have had a lot more sense than me! By 8:00 am there were a few more runners passing me by (let me make it clear, I don't usually pass anyone else, my pace is that slow!) I ended up sticking to my Rte 135/Rte 16 route from Natick through Wellesley to the border of Newton and back. It was quite the experience. At around the four-mile mark I saw about three or four school buses of people heading through Wellesley. I figured they could only be there for one thing and that wasn't high school football! A little after I had turned and was heading west again I came face to face with about 100 runners from Tufts University/John Hancock Boston Marathon training group. It was like trying to swim upstream and avoid a head-on collision. After weaving in and out of them for a few minutes I decided it would be better to just cross the street for a mile or so. It was quite a sight and I started to feel like this Marathon is coming up soon and how cool it is to be part of something this amazing! One of the things that first got me motivated to run a marathon was watching a documentary on PBS called “Nova Marathon Challenge” where they took around 10 regular people and put them through training at Tufts to see if they could run the Boston Marathon. As I saw that group of people running towards me it seemed like my goal was finally a reality.

About nine miles into my run I was passing Wellesley College in the opposite direction when none other than Sherwyn Rocke flew by me! I had to wave him on, he would have frozen running at my pace! I think the hardest thing about this week's run was trying to stay warm. When I got home I was still freezing and a warm shower only turned my legs from bright red to purple!

I learned a few important lessons on Sunday morning:

1. Warm the Gatorade before you go out. Mine turned to ice in my fuel belt after about 45 minutes!
2. Bring some Kleenex. I have had a stuffy nose for a week or so and the whole blowing over my shoulder wasn't working for me. I resorted to shirt sleeves, which also became frozen!
3. Put two pairs of running pants on. I had three layers on the top, which was barely enough but my legs were freezing!
4. Do a better job planning my runs against the weather this week!

Looking forward to a couple of shorter runs during the week this week and then another long one next weekend. I'd better check the weather to figure out which day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chaos - Joellyn

If I had to use one word to describe this past week it would be chaos. Between getting the kids to the doctor’s and dentist, writing a two-page paper for school, blogging, working and running, I’m tired. Sunday morning was my long run; I did 14 miles in a little over two hours. I can honestly say that it was a struggle towards the end; I just couldn’t find my groove. I did walk a few times but I realized that it is hard to get going again after walking. Going forward I will try to avoid the whole walking thing, not worth it. When I finished the run I was so proud of myself that I had just run 14 miles, hooray. Then I realized I still had another 12 miles to run before I would be done if this was the Marathon. The rest of Sunday was spent replacing all the calories I had burned running, plus some. I will just say it was a great game to watch, not the ending most wanted. Of course there are a few NY fans here at Newton-Wellesley that were quite happy with the score, they shall remain nameless for their own safety.

I gave my legs a break on Monday and Wednesday and just did weights. Tuesday was sprints on the treadmill for about an hour. Thursday was another run day but not 14 miles. Freddie Sanchez was nice enough to meet me at 6:00 am even though he was still not feeling 100%. Seems he got that nasty cold that was going around. We only did seven and a half miles, half-way up Heartbreak Hill!!! As bad as this sounds, I was glad he was under the weather, it slowed him down to a reasonable pace.

The plan for next week is more of the same. Sunday I am shooting for 16 miles, and it is going to be 20 degrees, should be fun! I never realized how difficult it is to try and map out a long run. I may have to run through three towns by the time the Marathon rolls around. Hopefully Freddie will run with me again and maybe Sherwyn. We are under 10 weeks, it’s time to get serious!

Running the Marathon Route – Kirsty

During the past week training felt like it was getting a little more serious! I am glad I have a training plan as it's easy to plan and check off the runs when they're done! I tend to plot out my route on the night before so I have an idea of where I'll be going before I head out.

Last week I did my six-mile run on the hills of Comm. Ave in Newton. I figured if I run them enough it will be less of a mental hurdle on race day. That run went well and I followed it up with a five-mile run around Newton Highlands later in the week. I'm trying really hard to make sure I stretch after my workouts as I tend to skip over that and I know it will be crucial to avoiding injury as the mileage increases. I've had a little nagging plantar fasciitis for a few months now and am just hoping it doesn't get any worse!

I was scheduled to do my long runs on Sundays with a shorter five-mile run on Saturdays. Last weekend I knew I was supposed to run 10 to 12 miles on Sunday but by Saturday I was just dying to get out there and try it after being sick the weekend before. Waiting until Sunday just seemed to be dragging it out. Saturday was a gorgeous day so I got out there around lunchtime (my daughter still naps in the early afternoon, which has ended up being my default running time on the weekends!) and did 10 miles on the Marathon route. I felt great and that helped my confidence for some of the longer runs ahead. I started out very slow as I was more concerned with covering the distance than my speed, which instigated some sarcasm from my husband about my lack of speed when I returned!

I also made a little purchase this week. I decided to invest in a fuel belt. I had been running with a small water bottle in my hand but figured as the runs get longer I might need some more water or Gatorade on board. I tried it out on my long run last weekend and after getting over that I looked a bit geeky I appreciated its benefits! I am in desperate need of some more shirts as I've worn holes in two old ones already!

This week I did another seven miles around Newton and have to admit, my motivation was not where it was last week. I guess the novelty has worn off but I'm sure that will pass as the miles increase! I am supposed to do eight miles today and I am trying to figure out how I am going to get that done as I only have an hour free to run and I am certainly not at eight mph speed - or anywhere close!

In the meantime, I'm keeping an eye on the weather for this weekend's 14-mile run!

Out of Commission - Danielle

Well, I'm lying here in my bed somewhat frustrated. Last week definitely didn't go as planned. I awoke on Monday, January 30 around 4:30 am to get ready for work. I was feeling somewhat tired, but got ready and drove into work. As I stepped out of my car, I all of a sudden felt a warm stream down my leg. I had lost control of my bladder! I was obviously disturbed by the whole thing but went inside, cleaned myself up as well as I could and settled into my office. I thought to myself that I was glad to be wearing black pants that day. Shortly after, I realized my right eye felt heavy. I went into the bathroom and sure enough, it was partially closed and I had a hard time opening it up all the way. I decided to call my doctor’s office and scheduled an appointment for late in the day on my way home (of course I wasn't going to drive all the way to work without putting a full day in).

At the end of the day, I went to the doctor’s and they immediately sent me to the emergency room to rule out the obvious. I was admitted and spent the next three days undergoing multiple tests including MRI/MRA, MRI of the c-spine, several vials of blood, and my favorite, a lumbar puncture. All tests have been negative to date except my thyroid function tests; I have Hashimoto's and it looks like I need an adjustment in my medication (no wonder I'm so darn tired all the time!). My eye eventually went back to normal and I was discharged Thursday night with instructions to follow up with the neurologist and my primary care physician.

On Friday, I started having super bad headaches and after 24 hours I called the neurologist who diagnosed me with spinal headaches (a side effect after a spinal tap). He told me to lie in bed flat for eight hours. Over the course of this time, I began having some belly cramping. I suspect I now have a stomach virus (when it rains it pours).

I did push myself to run six miles on Saturday but essentially I have been out of running commission for a week now. I'm obviously frustrated by the whole thing but all I can do is wait it out and hopefully things are going to get better.

The one thing I am chuckling about to some degree is watching my husband push a vacuum, clean toilets, do groceries, laundry, cart three kids around, etc. In all honesty though, I'll be super happy when I'm back to my old self, can be useful around the house again and can hit the pavement with my new running shoes! I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be 100 percent by the end of the week because I have a lot of miles to catch up on!

Monday, February 6, 2012

13 Mile Long Run? – Angela

I have to admit that this week was a little challenging considering that I am currently in New Brunswick, NJ for training. My week started on Monday, which was easy because it was an off day. However, Tuesday morning at 5:30 I decided to run outside since the hotel gym was completely occupied. I can’t believe how many people get up so early to work out. Nevertheless, I decided to take a chance and run outside (by myself). Hind sight I really didn’t think this through although I know I only had to run 3.1 miles so I figured stay on the main roads and I should be able to manage just fine. I did my three miles maybe a little more since I was not familiar with the area and I had no idea where I was going. (Note to self, plan ahead). Nevertheless, this was going to be my last early morning run outside by myself in an unfamiliar area. As the week continued, I made new friends and found a running partner so the rest of the week was great! I ran my four miles on Tuesday and six on Friday. Saturday was my rest day, which was perfect since my husband and son came down to visit me for the weekend.

Sunday morning I was scheduled to run 13 miles, but my company is busing us to a new location closer to the corporate office. I decided to run my 13 miles once I got to the new location. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Not only is the new location more rural, there are no sidewalks! Ugggg! So here I am now in Branchburg, NJ with limited knowledge of the area. The hotel staff was not that familiar with running routes but I was directed to a residential area. So bottom line, I not only ran my 13 miles and got lost a little, but my total amount of miles was 15.15! Unbelievable I got a little turned around. This has truly been quite the adventure. I have learned a lot about traveling and trying to maintain a running schedule in unfamiliar areas. Did I mention that I am looking forward to returning home to get back to some familiar roads? The good news is I will be home Thursday night so I will be able to do a couple of miles on Friday and Sunday I am scheduled to run just 10 miles.

Feeling Good - Danielle

So it's been about a week and a half since my last entry. I've managed to run in three states and in all kinds of crazy weather. I've run in five-degree weather in RI, after a snow storm in Maine (and may I add coming head on with snow plows is quite intimidating), and just a few days ago, I ran in heavy rain in Maryland with the temp at a warm 60. I'll be heading to the Keys with family and friends during February break. I'm sure I'll get the hot weather runs in there. I love running in the rain; beats the heat, cold and snow any day.

As far as mileage, I can run 13. My goal this week is to start on a 17-mile adventure – I call it. I head out to do my 17-mile loop, I run as far as I can, then I do a walk/run with hopefully more running than walking in the last part. I'll continue to do this until I can run all 17. My goal is to do this in the next three weeks.

I've been going to PT regularly and it seems to be helping. I have also discovered that although I am fit, I have a lot of weak areas on my body, especially my hips, back and core. My physical therapist, Justin, is super. He has me doing all kinds of exercises to strengthen all the weak muscles and then some. I can already feel a difference when I'm running.

My big purchase yesterday was a brand new pair of running shoes. I bought Newton's on the suggestion of my brother-in-law who runs in this brand and swears by them. He has seen a lot more miles than me. I am hoping they work out for me as well. I was looking for a shoe that will help my running form and help to decrease the impact on my knees and back. I also purchased my running shirt. I'm very picky about my running gear during a race for some reason. I plan on having it embroidered with a design my daughter put on her soccer jerseys just before my dad passed away. It is the lymphoma ribbon with the number nine imbedded in it (my dad's hockey jersey number he had his entire life). I also will add a fist underneath the whole picture. My dad would always hold up his fist jokingly and say to us, "Do you want to meet my five brothers?" For me it also represents the tough fight that he never won against lymphoma. I'll also plan to have the NWH logo on the shirt as well.

Lastly, I am realizing that taking on training is really causing me to get behind on some daily tasks. So on that note, I guess house cleaning, laundry and cooking gourmet meals have gotten somewhat put on the back burner. A common question from my kids over the past few weeks, “Mom do I have any clean….” you name it. Their dresser drawers have been empty at times but they are quite understanding and I think as things go along, I'll get more efficient at doing everything somehow…or maybe it's a good time to teach them how to do all the above themselves?!!

I guess that covers my activities for the past two weeks. I'm feeling pretty good and highly motivated. See you at next check in!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crazy - Joellyn

My name is Joellyn Morin from Kingston, MA and I am the Team Lead for Information Systems here at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. My husband, Chris, and my two children, Addison age 6 and Toby age 5, have been very supportive. When I told them I was running in the marathon my son asked me if I was going to win? How cute. I told him that I may not come in first but I will win because I will finish. It is difficult enough to work full-time and raise two children but throw training into the mix and it gets tricky. Did I mention I just started back to school for my master’s in management and healthcare informatics as well? Crazy right? That one word about sums me up.

If you had asked me last year if I would ever blog I would have said no let alone blog about running in the Boston Marathon. Bear with me on both because I have never done either. That’s right I don’t run races or should I say I didn’t. The first and only race I have run in was January, 5, 2012 in Quincy, it was a 5K. A far cry from the 26.2 miles I’m about to embark on. On the recommendation of Daniel Destin from the Shipley Fitness, I put my name in the hat to run in the Boston Marathon for Team Newton-Wellesley. Not sure if I should thank him or curse him, I will decide after the race. I wasn’t a hard core runner; I did it more because I would rather do cardio outside than run on a treadmill. Funny how quickly things can change, now I run so I can finish the Marathon not in traction.

I don’t have a clear cut training plan. I ran eight miles this morning with who I like to call my secret service agents: Freddie Sanchez, who is marathon man, and Sherwyn Rocke, who is also running for Team Newton-Wellesley in the Marathon. Freddie has done numerous marathons and runs all the time. He has been nice enough to volunteer to run with Sherwyn and me. Freddie’s job is to basically push us to our breaking point. Keep in mind we do this at 6:00 in the morning while most people are starting their day. I realized running with them pushes me to not stop and to try and keep pace. There were points that I know if they weren’t with me I would have walked, stopped or maybe cried. Thanks for the push guys!

I originally decided to run the Marathon because Daniel suggested it. After the excitement, shock, horror and denial of it all I have realized why I really am running. First, we are raising money for a great cause, The Vernon Cancer Center. We all have a family member or know someone who has or is battling this awful disease. Second, I want to be able to say I ran and finished the Boston Marathon. How cool is that? Third, I want my children to know that if you put your mind to something you can do it. I have no formal training for this and not a lot of time to train. I have 16 weeks to prepare, most people train up to a year in advance. I’m not afraid, bring it.

No Time Like the Present - Kirsty

I have been running off and on for more than 20 years. In high school and college I was a serious athlete competing for my country (Great Britain at the time!) in rowing. I did some running at the time as part of my training but have never been a natural runner. But 20 years and two children later I mainly exercise for fun and enjoy jogging just to get outside and get some exercise. I love a challenge and still have a competitive side and running a marathon has been on my list of lifetime goals for a few years now. I turn 40 this year so figured there was no time like the present!

My husband has done a few marathons, including Boston twice, but the furthest I have run before is a half marathon (in Scotland many years ago) and a few 5ks and 10ks here and there. I will certainly not be breaking any speed records and my main goal is to cross the finish line on two feet! I've been working out with Daniel Destin at the Shipley Fitness Center for a while so when I found out I had a number we reviewed a few training plans and picked a beginner marathon schedule that calls for four days of running with a long run on Sunday. I'm going to try to cross train the other days as well. Fitting in the runs with two young children (ages 1 and 6) is the biggest challenge and I may do a couple of the long runs with my husband for some company along the way. I plan on getting up and out early in the morning for most of my runs as it's my favorite time of day and too many obstacles come up once the day gets started. I'm just hoping the mornings get a little lighter sooner!

My biggest concerns for the Marathon are staying healthy (I managed to start week one of training with a nasty virus I picked up from my children but still got my runs in) and injury free. I am lucky enough to live in Wellesley, just a few minutes from the Marathon route so hope to get some runs in on the route and also the Crosstown Trail, which is a much softer surface and a little easier on the joints!

Yes I can! Yes I will! – Angela

I am thrilled to be awarded this once in a lifetime opportunity to train and run the Boston Marathon. I don’t come from a family of healthy athletic people and every time I decided to set my mind to some sort of physical challenge, I occasionally get a questionable glace. I started running about twelve years ago in an effort to get physically fit. My first road race was a 5k and I had my entire family come and cheer me on. As time progressed I continued to set my goals higher until I reached the goal of training for the Chicago Marathon in 2000. I didn’t have a precise training schedule and I elicited the help of my friends to ride their bikes alongside of me as I trained for my long runs.

Once I completed the Chicago Marathon, I said that I would NEVER EVER DO THIS AGAIN. In fact I pretty much committed to not training for anything again – until three years ago when a girlfriend asked me to train for the New York Marathon. Initially, I trained with the idea I just want to through this challenge and never commit to doing another. Well, after the race I caught the “runners bug” and it allowed me to remain committed and healthy. This past October I ran the Lowell Marathon. I had hopes that I would qualify for the Boston Marathon but during my training I realized that registration for Boston was pushed up to September so even if I would qualify, I wouldn’t make registration. Nevertheless, I committed to the marathon and ran my best run even with an injury by mile 22.

So, here I am fully committed to running the Boston Marathon a dream of mine for at least ten years. Ironically, it looks like I lucked out because this year’s weather has been AMAZING! I have followed a simple training schedule designed by Hal Higdon. In addition, to training I have two great things that keep me going on my long runs, which are the Heart Break Hill Striders (running group) and I have a cool running partner Sherwyn Rocke, who also got a number through Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The best advice I can give anyone who has thought about running but wasn’t sure how to get started is baby steps - just start off walking and run for 10 to 30 seconds and then walk for two. Find what works for you. Clearly, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know how I feel after I exercise and there AIN’T no pill for that!

My commitment to getting and staying healthy is not just one sided. My husband plays a huge part in this because we have a son who is four years old. So many mornings I go out to do my miles while my two boys are still sleeping. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I teach spin at 5:30 am at the Shipley Fitness Center and dash home to walk the dog and get ready for work. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I go out to complete my assigned morning runs (usually while the boys are sleeping). Sundays are my long runs. This Sunday, Sherwyn and I completed 12 miles and we both felt really good. There is something about training with a friend rather training by yourself. Of course I miss a day or two here and there for one reason or another but for the most part I want to remain committed to my goal. As fate would have it, during this great news, I also started a new job which has also gotten to be very challenging with home study and regional training. This has forced me to be more organized and prioritize my running schedule for early in the morning verses mid morning or late afternoon.

So my journey is long and it does come with a little history but doesn’t everyone have a story to share as to how they arrived to where they are now? Yes I can and Yes I will!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Running for My Dad – Danielle

My name is Danielle Taber. I live in Ashaway, RI with my husband Stephen and our three kids, Grace 13, Jack 11 and Lidia 4. I started at Newton-Wellesley in 1997 on a full-time basis and after each child, I cut down hours. I am now about 8 to 16 hours a week. I am primarily a stay-at-home mom but NWH has allowed me the flexibility to manage a busy family and keep up with my credential and enjoy what I love practicing, and that is nutrition. At Newton-Wellesley, I am an acute care dietitian. I have my master's in nutrition and am a Registered Licensed Dietitian.

I'm a “soccer mom” in the literal sense. My oldest daughter, Grace, is a die-hard soccer player and plays on a Premiere team, a competitive club team and a recreational team. My son Jack plays on a competitive club team. My four year old will play in the fall, but for now does a lot of traveling in state and out of state for games and tournaments. She's a good sport to say the least. Between games and practices, I'm spread fairly thin.

I never ran until after I had my third child at 36 years old. It was a dark winter that year and I knew if I didn't get out of the house, I would go crazy. My mother-in-law bought me a jogger, I got some running shoes and off I went with my newborn baby all bundled up. I walked at first and then started running. A few months later I ran a 10-mile race and that fall, a half marathon. I have done another half marathon since and a few other 10-mile races. I haven't done tons of running but I have a “bucket list”. It includes getting my nose pierced, which I did at 39 years old, running a half marathon, running a marathon (in particular Boston), and several other things I intend to do in the future.

I'm embarrassed to say that I don’t have a specific training plan. I just run on a regular basis and do weight training. I run three times a week. Typically two short runs and a long run, but I primarily let my body dictate how far I go. There are some days my body just doesn't want to run far, so I settle for short and vice versa. With each week, I set out to do more mileage if I'm going to run a race. I usually try to overshoot the number of miles the race is for; hence, I work to 17 miles if I have to run 13 (I don't think I'll overshoot for the marathon though!). I figure if I get to 20 to 23 miles, I'll be good. In between runs, I do workouts with weights and strength training. My biggest issue will be figuring out how to replenish and hydrate during the race. I've been know to get up early in the morning, drink a cup of coffee and head out for a long run. I've done 17 miles that way. I know I won't get away running 26 miles that way. So I have a little research I need to do on that one before I get into the higher miles during training.

I want to do Boston because for several years I worked Patriot's Day and would always go and watch the runners. I guess I just thought that someday it would be cool to be a part of this particular race but I never actually thought I would eventually pick up running as a hobby and actually run myself. People come from everywhere to run this race and the crowds cheering them on are phenomenal.

I sure training will change my life to some degree, but not too much. I've always been pretty fit, working out about five to six times per week on a regular basis. Sure my long runs will take me longer but I'm fortunate to have three days during the week when all my kids are in school. My last one just started preschool this year, so those hours will be used to run.

I'm going to say my biggest concern about running is the possibility that maybe while I'm training, I'll injure myself. I already have an issue; I am going to physical therapy to fix a hip/back problem that I've had for years. My right hip is rotated forward. It needs a little fixing to help improve my running form. So things like this make me a bit nervous.

I am certain that I will cross the finish line though. My dad always said I could anything if I put my mind to it. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with a rare form of NHL, July 2011. I took him and my mom from their home in Maine back to RI to live with me while he underwent treatment at Dana Farber. He fought a good fight, but his cancer was stronger than he was. He was gone within four months. The disease took my dad without mercy. My dad was one of the strongest people I knew but not strong enough for this. So I run in his memory. He was many things to me, a great father, a best friend, a phenomenal grandfather and someone who was always there to listen or offer advice if needed. I miss him a lot but I know in my heart he is in a better place. So this one is for him and I know he'll be with me in spirit. I look forward to the fundraising aspect of this event. It is a great feeling to know that this money goes to help those people like my dad.