Friday, March 30, 2007

Anybody home?

(I have been doing a pretty crummy job of keeping you all updated here... will definitely try to improve upon that. Short story: still training, it's going swimmingly, feeling great, marathon's still a go. But now onto the really important stuff...)

I've found that its unbelievable how many people have reached out and offered their support to me in this process... both from their hearts and their pockets. I have raised over $2,300 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society thus far! It's amazing! So, from the bottom of my heart, thanks to everyone who has lended their support. Knowing that there are so many of you out there who are rooting for me gets me out on the road on those days when I'd really rather do just about anything else.

If you would like to donate, there's a handy little button right over there in the sidebar. Know that every single penny not only helps me to reach my goal, but benefits the lives of so many who are living with one of the blood cancers. (Visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's website for more info on the amazing work that they are doing.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ups and Downs

It's been an off week for my running. Saturday, as usual, got started with a nice long run. It took about 30 minutes to get into my groove, but from there I cruised right along. There was some confusion as to the route so I ended up going farther than we were supposed to, and ended up at around 13 miles. I think my knees knew that we'd gone too far, as they were rather vocal in their hatred of me in the last mile.

Did I mention that I had a 12:30 flight to catch that day? Yes.... so finish running, little bit of stretching, race back home, 10 minute soak in my parents' pool (which during this time of year, qualifies as an ice bath), then its racing against the clock to get back to the airport. I swear I set a landspeed record in getting myself ready. Out the door, in the car, and on the way back to Monterey by 11. Perfect.

(Sidenote: Driving back through Sand City, I saw Patti and Michelle from our walk team finishing up their mileage... those walkers have some incredible endurance!)

So lesson for the day: If you ever have a really strenuous workout, getting on a cross-country flight is not the way you want to spend the rest of the day. Trust me. By the time I arrived in DC, my knees were screaming and it was all I could do to lug my bags to the taxi. The taxi that dropped our group off at the wrong hotel. At 11 pm. Oh, it had been a good day. A picture's worth a thousand words, so here is how I spent St. Patrick's Day, in Washington DC:

Thrilling Saturday night, no?

I'm finally back home after a whirlwind four days in DC... this was the last trip for a while so it will be nice to settle down and focus on the training. Traveling can really mess with the schedule, and this week has been no exception. The knees are FINALLY feeling better... got a couple miles and some yoga in last night - today the schedule calls for 6-8 miles so I'll head to the coast and hope for the best. Gotta get back on that horse sometime, no matter how rough the past few days have been.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Who knew Carmel was hilly?

"... I've got to get to the top of the hill..." - Last words of John Pierpont Morgan (1913)

So the next time any of you drive down Ocean Ave in Carmel, please think about running UP it. Twice. Good training run on Saturday (12 miles in Carmel - gorgeous weather), but the hill at the end was rather interesting. I made it (thank you Rebecca for the great encouragement). I had my own little Rocky moment at the top.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The inevitable list...

“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” ~James Thurber

The question I’m asked quite frequently (following closely behind “Are you nuts?”) is “Why would you want to run a marathon?”. Why, indeed. Since I’m an engineer, I think in lists. Thusly, I present: Caroline’s top 26 reasons to run 26 miles.

  1. Just to see if I can really do it. Aim for the stars, shoot for the moon, etc, right?
  2. Team in Training really is a great organization. Since I’ve started this quest, I’ve had so many people approach me to tell me stories of their loved ones who have battled leukemia and other cancers. Cancer has touched my own family, and giving of my own time and energy is a great way to honor those who have battled against these diseases.
  3. Re-read #2. I can’t say this strongly enough... I am humbled and inspired by the stories I’ve heard and by the struggles that my own family has been through. I consciously think of them when I’m struggling up a hill or over a few tough miles. I’m blessed to have my health and the physical ability to do this training.
  4. Do you have any idea how well you can get to know yourself on a long run? I’ve had the most random conversations with myself and deep thoughts in the midst of a long run.
  5. Summer’s coming. That means swimsuits. A girl’s gotta be prepared.
  6. Oh, the fabulous amount of food I can eat. And the guiltless carbohydrates. (Carbs = Fuel!)
  7. Camaraderie of belonging to a team... making new friends with like-minded individuals who like to push themselves physically.
  8. Bragging rights. And that big shiny medal they put around your neck when you finish.
  9. Because at the end of 26 miles, that celebratory beer will taste mighty good.
  10. I have a wee bit of a competitive streak (thanks Dad). There’s a lot, Ok, a ton, of things I can’t win at: golf, tennis (umm.. make that ANY sport requiring hand-eye coordination), bowling, thumb wrestling.... But I can definitely out-run a few folks. (I dedicate #10 to my wonderful brother.) :-)
  11. We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Running the central coast allows me to appreciate just how spectacular nature can be.
  12. It feels good to be healthy... more energy, better skin, happier demeanor... running keeps me healthy on the inside and outside.
  13. With all the craziness that is our lives... work, home, family, general chaos... it’s pretty super to get a few hours when its just me and the pavement. (Uh-oh... starting to sound like a Nike commercial over here.)
  14. I always thought the “runners high” was a big fat myth that other runners talked about to non-runners. Nope. It exists, its fantastic, and it’s worth the miles you’ve got to put in to find it.
  15. Pancakes. (See #6)
  16. I hear San Diego’s nice in June.
  17. And San Diego has a groovy zoo! I love zoos!
  18. You can get rid of a ton of aggravation and stress by pounding the pavement. I can attest to this firsthand.
  19. Running’s a pretty cheap sport. A good pair of shoes is really all you need to get started. As is inevitable though, there are lots of accessories that I suddenly “can’t live without”, but at its core, it’s a simple, inexpensive and convenient way to be involved in competitive sports.
  20. It’s the right time in my life. 2006 was an enormous, hectic, crazy year for me... it’s time to settle down, focus on “me”, and do something good for both my community and myself.
  21. Because this:

Looks incredible. I cannot wait to be one of those people!

  1. I will hit the big 2-8 six days before the race. What better way to kick off a new year (and have a good excuse to eat a whole lot of birthday cake).
  2. I’ve been so completely awed by the support from friends and family that I’ve received already... I can’t let all you good people down now, can I?
  3. Did I mention the pancakes?
  4. I’ve now got a legitimate reason to read Runners World without looking like a poser.
  5. Because it feels oh so good to stop.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Here We Go...

"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible." - Doug Larson

Ten miles. A distance you could cover in ten quick minutes on the highway, or a few rambling hours on foot. On Saturday, it took me about an hour and a half. Saturday was our ten-mile Team in Training run, and somewhat of a milestone for me.

I've had this mental block at the ten-mile mark... a feeling that if I could make it to ten, then I'd truly be training for a marathon. It's a distance that you don't choose to cover without some goal in mind; at least I wouldn't go out and you know, casually run a ten miler. I woke up Saturday with a pit in my stomach, my nerves in a twist - just a mindset that this would be scary. It's been a number of years since I'd covered more than eight miles and this was the day.

It turned out to be a dreamy day, one of those gorgeous spring mornings when you're thanking the heavens that you get to live on the Monterey Bay. Blue skies, ideal temperature, and that ocean view that sells a whole lot of postcards. And I did it. With teammates who were working through the same distance, lots of high-fives and "Go Team"s, and an endless supply of smiles. I was on top of the world.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is a shorter training run... a distance that I'll look back at fondly as an "easy" one, but for me it was more than that. It was a mental step to say, "I can do this."

So here we go... I'm officially ready to say "I'm training for a marathon" and mean it. I'll be using this site to document my training - for those of you who have offered your support and for myself, a memento of these many miles, of this dream that I've had for so long. I'm sure many of you are wondering "Why in the heck would she want to do this?". I
'll save that for another day, but rest assured that there are many, many reasons (not all crazy either). Thanks for reading, and here's to truly finding the joy in my journey.

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