Thursday, February 27, 2014

What doesn't freeze me solid makes me a stronger runner.....

Ok, Really???? REALLY???? Can we be done with winter now PLEASE??????  Enough is enough.  Single digit runs and snowbanks taller than me are getting really old.  I laughed in the face of Mother Nature for the first storm of the season and refused to believe winter had arrived, now I'm not laughing anymore, the joke is on me.  Very funny, ok, Polar Vortex, you can go back to Canada now and warmer (but not too warm) less snowy, yucky, grey, cloudy doom and gloom days would be nice.

I guess I sort of lucked out last weekend for the first DFMC group run I have been able to attend.  It rained all Friday and I baked cookies when I got home to bring to the run.  Saturday REALLY early I drove to Wellesley to run along the Marathon Course with the team.  It wasn't raining anymore and it wasn't snowing, but it WAS really cold and a little windy and the runoff from the day before had frozen into a sheet of ice on the Newton Hills which made it extra challenging to run and not faceplant on the asphalt or break a hip.  It was a recovery week for me so I was "only" running 14 miles.  It ended up perfect because that took me just over the top of heartbreak hill and back.  
After the run I went to Trader Joes (big mistake).  I should know better than to go to Trader Joes after a run, but I do it A LOT.  I spent about $100 on snacks I don't need.  I went home, showered and took a nap.  After I woke up, I texted a few friends and made plans to go out in downtown Lowell for Winterfest.  It was also National Margarita Day so we got a margarita at the first bar (and the next one too).  Then we met up with some other friends to go to the beer tent, not before stopping by the Lowell Fire Dept for some fun photos with a friend that works there.  I hope he didn't get in trouble.  After several hours at the beer tent we finished off the night with one (maybe two) more margarita(s).  It is so nice to have my Saturday nights and social life back, but I really over did it.  I'm lucky I can walk home from downtown.

Surprise surprise Sunday morning I woke up with a pounding headache and wonky stomach.  Oh and I had a 3 mile race to run at 1:00pm.  My goal for the race went from running a solid time to not puking the whole time.  The first mile was a little rough, but more because it was crowded than because of my hangover.  I picked up the pace after it thinned out a little and managed to finish in just under 30 minutes.  Still felt wonky afterwards and couldn't wait to go home and crash on my couch but first we all decided to get lunch.  Maybe food would make me feel better......not really, but it was a fun day and then I took a nap.  I think I could easily end every blog entry with that phrase..."and then I took a nap".  I love naps.

Big exciting news this week......I got my DFMC singlet in the mail along with a matching sparkle skirt I ordered to go with it.  Also, got a sort of scary email from the B.A.A. about new rules for this year.  No bags allowed AT ALL.  So no bringing warm clothes to the start and then putting them safely in a bag to collect at the finish.  NO BANDITS allowed on the course, so it looks like trying to get someone to run me into the finish is out of the question.  I will have to find some good throw away clothes and then somehow figure out how to get some warm dry clothes to the finish area too.  All totally understandable and great that they let everyone know so far in advance that we can prepare, but definitely throws a wrench in the works of normal pre-race routine.

BTWs, today is my mom's 66th birthday!  Trying to get as many donations of any dollar amount "In Honor" of her today as possible.  Please go to my page and make a donation and make it "IN HONOR" of "Cheryl Leeman".  

Happy Birthday MOM!!!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stooopid snow

 Last weekend I had 16 miles on my schedule and Mother Nature had another blizzard on her schedule.  Well......screw you b*tch......I'm running anyway.  I got up early and got started to try and be done before it got really hazardous out.  My 16 mile loop has a few sections of narrow sort of busy roads, about 4 miles in total, then the rest is on quiet back roads.  It is full of never-ending hills.  The first 3 miles are the same for all my long runs with one mile being all uphill.  Then I get 3 miles of rolling downhills before I have to climb again.  From mile 6 to 11, the hills just keep coming.  I get a little recovery and some flats from 11 to 14 then I go up again right to the end of the run. 

I started out sort of slugish and not feelin it.  I was grumpy and pissed off at the world and the calendar with it's stupid fake holiday and hearts and flowers everywhere.  After the first 4 miles I settled in and relaxed.  I found my happy place.  Just me and my running shoes and the road.  MY LOVE.  I didn't worry about pace or work or bills that need to be paid or errands I need to do or the garbage disposal in my kitchen that still needs to be replaced or the slow leak in the tire on my car or my fundraising or my lack of plans for the rest of the weekend.  I just put one foot in front of the other and let my mind just go to one mile at a time, one step at a time, one breathe, one heart beat......ahhhhhh......inner peace.  So simple, so so hard to find sometimes.

I finished my run, 16.5 miles and I felt so much better.  I negative split it and actually ran one of my least favorite hills really strong and faster than I expected (I usually end up walking up that last little bit of it because it is so long and steep).  It left me feeling really good, tired, but satisfied and optomistic and really positive compared to how I started the run.  I actually thought about giving up a few times in the first mile.  Glad I pushed through it.

My fundraising is officially over $10,000!  I'm not stopping.  I'm begging friends and family and former donors to please reach out to the next degree of separation and ask their friends and family for donations.  Assuming about 100 people have donated to me so far, if only half of them asked just 2 more people to donate say for example $25 that would add up to $2500 and put me close to teh $13,100 mark or $500 per mile of the marathon.  If you are reading this and you have already donated, please share my link with a friend and encourage them to donate too.  If you haven't donated yet, WTF? Come on, what are you waiting for? :)

Yesterday I had a DFMC team meeting in the evening to talk about going back to Boylston.  I really wanted to go for a run before the meeting.  Mother Nature decided to try and prevent me from getting out there, but I was prepared.  I brought my YakTrax.
It was supposed to be raining, but it was more like slushing.  It wasn't quite snow and it wasn't rain.  The sidewalks were still covered with snow from the last storm the day before that dumped another foot at home and I think at least another 3 inches in the city.  And with the slush falling from the sky it was extremely slick and soggy.  I decided to do another 'practice run' to prepare myself for April.  I have had enough of Mother Nature ruining my running plans and I just don't care anymore.  I will get wet.  I will be cold.  The snow banks might be taller than me.  I will be forced to wear my YakTrax to avoid slipping on ice.  BUT I WILL NOT STOP.  I have a marathon to run!  I got soaked, but it was worth it.  I ran Hereford and Boylston and I got one step closer to OK.

The team meeting was perfect.  I had to swing by REI and get some dry clothes to wear first, but then I got there and met a few fellow runners and said hi to some familiar faces at the DFMC office.  The meeting went til about 9pm and was exactly the inspiration and reminder I needed to refocus and remember what it is I love so much about running and marathons specifically.  It may be an individual effort but it is absolutely a community event.  My feet will do the work, but the spirit of all of Boston will carry me across that finish line in Boston and I will once again feel the high and the glory that comes with finishing the best marathon in the world.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I just felt like running.....

Went for my run last night and it turned into an epic Forrest Gump like adventure.  I started out not really feeling great.  Legs were heavy and for several reasons (work stress, life stress, random overwhelming emotions about Boston) my heart was heavy too.  I really wanted to just give up in the first mile and turn around and go to my car and drive home, but I kept going.  I ran to the Charles River.  I went along the Memorial Drive side to Western Ave then crossed.  This is where I usually make a loop and run the Storrow side to finish just about 6 miles.  Not last night, last night I just kept running along Western Ave.  I was toying with the idea of going to the finish and running Boylston to maybe see everything is ok and keep going and see that I can do this and I will be ok too.  I was thinking Western Ave would eventually cross either Comm Ave. or Beacon and I could run back towards Boston to the finish line if I felt ok about it. Well, it didn't go anywhere near either of those roads, it was a sort of sketchy area very industrial with a few dive bars scattered on the sides of the road like litter.  I passed a few gas stations and thought about asking for directions, but I didn't want anyone to know I was lost.  I ended up in Newton near the Mass Pike. Almost all the way to where I get acupuncture and almost in Watertown.  Totally lost, but no going back now, I looked around and I could see the Pru and I just started running towards it.  No clue where I was, but I was already 4 miles in and had to get back somehow.  I ran thru Newton, Brighton maybe or is it Brookline, I have no idea.  Got to Kenmore Square eventually and was at almost 8 miles.  I still sort of wanted to run the last mile of the marathon and near the finish but that would have added another 2 miles out and back.  Just knowing that I wanted to go there, but wasn't really ready at that moment was ok.  I was cold, tired, thirsty and hungry so I just crossed the Mass ave bridge and called it a day.  Still need to run that last mile a few times to get ok with it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's STILL cold and it's going to snow AGAIN

This weather pattern is really really getting old and making it difficult to get motivated to go out and run.  Plus the snow makes the roads more and more dangerous to run in.  I'm not wishing for the heat and humidity of July, but just 10 weeks to go until the Boston Marathon and I would like to not slip and fall or get hit by a plow truck while training.  All things considered my training is going pretty good.  I took a break last week because I had a lot going on and just didn't feel like running.  I was mentally exhausted and had no energy. 

Saturday I got back out there and did a 14 mile run through Andover and Tewksbury.  It started out awesome.  I felt great, my pace was solid, and I even found a penny on the ground (someone once told me finding money is a sign of angels watching over you and I absolutely believe it).  I got about half way and then I really had to pee.  I had two giant cups of tea to warm up before I left the house and they hit my bladder all at once.  No place to go and snow so deep that wandering into the woods was not an option.  I continued on despite a slower pace.  Imagine trying to run with your legs crossed and doing the pee pee dance all at once.  OMG.  It was rough.  I did the math in my head, miles to the nearest Mobil station.  Walked a little, ran a little, walked a little more.  FINALLY, got to the Mobil station and took care of business then light as a feather and feeling much better I practically sprinted home.  14.25 miles DONE.

Sunday I went cross country skiing with some friends for the first time.  We went to Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, MA.  They have all kinds of trails and rentals.  We all had an amazing time.  There were a few wipe outs here and there.  We tried the "most difficult" trail which was narrow and had a ton of ups and downs.  I took a bunch of pictures and then just before we left I suggested a funny picture of a staged 'yard sale' (slang for an epic wipe out that tosses all your equipment in every direction).  We climbed up onto a huge snow bank and set it up and as we were snapping the photo someone else took a picture too.  It was the Lowell Sun. 
The Photographer asked for all of our names and I told her only if she added a plug about me running the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber.  Which she did.  I hope people see it and I get a few donations.  Either way it was a great day and the photo is hilarious.

My fundraising is going great.  A few checks that I mailed in were added to my total yesterday and pushed me over the $8K mark!  That makes me a Dana Farber Pacesetter.  I mailed a few more checks Monday and yesterday and with those I will be closing in on my $10K goal.  I couldn't be more excited and grateful to everyone that has supported me and made donations.  It's so awesome and so amazing!  I hope I can keep going and raise even more money for the important research that Dana Farber does.  I still have a few ideas and might do another cheesecake drawing.  I'm currently encouraging friends and family that have donated to ask 5 of their friends to donate.  If just 5 people ask 5 friends to give $20, that will add up to another $500 for DFMC.  So, spread the word, share my page, forward my link, tell anyone and everyone that will listen to you.  Every dollar counts!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

WOW! I need a nap

Holy cow the last few days have been so busy I feel like two weeks have gone by in 5 days.  At the end of last week I scrambled to sell the last of my Superbowl Squares for my Dana Farber fundraising just before the weekend, collecting money and chasing people down, begging everyone to buy another square.  I got them filled and the numbers picked and copies distributed, but geez, I don't think I will do that ever again.  It was a lot of work and way too much stress. 

Thank God Friday afternoon I had an acupuncture appointment and plans for dinner afterwards to catch up with my friend Denise and see her now 2 month old baby.  Acupuncture was amazing as usual (although I already feel like I need to go back just for stress relief and a little relaxation).  Dinner was cut short because I got stuck in traffic and got there late and poor baby wasn't cooperating and letting me and Denise socialize, I'm sure we will somehow get him back for this when he is older.  Oh you want to go to the movies with your friends do you......sounds great we will come too.  hahahaha

Saturday was the Stair Climb in Boston for American Lung Association, one of my favorite events all year.  I signed up to climb 3 times this year and had a small team of friends and coworkers climbing with me.  My first start time was at 8:12 then my second and third times were spread out a little after that.  I didn't train and I'm still a little heavier than I would like to be, so I had pretty low expectations going into it.  I just wanted to be consistent between climbs.  Mission Accomplished!  My times were amazing, nothing fast enough to place or anything, but all right around 10 minutes.

After I was done with all my climbs we got brunch at the bar and hung out for a little bit.  I wanted to see some of the firefighters climbing and then stick around to see if my hometown boys from Portland Fire could reclaim the title, but all my friends bailed and I didn't want to just sit at the bar by myself.  I ended up going home and it was a good thing because I fell asleep on my couch and slept for 3 hours.  Guess I needed some rest.

Sunday I had my long run to do before trying to fight crowds at the grocery store on Superbowl Sunday and I needed to do a ton of laundry.  I finished my 12.7 mile run and felt AWESOME!!!!  I was sort of expecting to be tired and sore from the stair climb, but I felt great and ran probably the fastest average pace on a long run in a long time.  When I was done it was still sort of early and there were no crowds at the grocery store yet.  I was able to get in and out and even caught up with a good friend living in Seattle and called my mom too.  It was a SUPER productive morning.  By the time I got home it wasn't even noon yet and I still had all day before the big game started and I had to keep track of who won squares.  I wish I could say I did something crazy with all my spare time, but I didn't.  I took another nap.

Back to work on Monday, paid the winners for the superbowl squares and began making a mental to-do list for my next Fundraiser - the painting party Tuesday night.  I had to go home, bake a cheesecake, clean my house a little, blow up the aerobed for my mom and put sheets and blankets on it, organize all the raffle items and make sure I had labels and cups and all the supplies I needed.  And I think once the cheesecake was out of the oven, I might have taken another nap, but technically it was night time so really I just went to sleep early.

Tuesday, I rushed through work and got home to wait for my mom and head over to the bar to set up for the painting party and get some food.  Mom got lost coming down and went past the exit she needed to take delaying her arrival by about 30-45 minutes, but it worked out fine, we got to the bar right on time and got a parking space right in front.  Set up all the raffle items and finally got to sit down and relax before the night got going.  Dinner and a beer and chatting with some friends that came early for dinner, then it was time to host the event.

It was a little crazy trying to say hi to everyone and thank them for coming and sell raffle tickets and make sure mom wasn't just all by herself, but once everyone arrived and we started the painting part things settled down a bit.  I spoke briefly and thanked everyone for coming, mentioned that it was World Cancer Day and looking around the room the crowd was mostly female, a scary statistic is that one in every three women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but with the money raised for Dana Farber they are doing amazing research that increases the survival rate of those women so it was great for all of them to come out and support such an important cause.

We painted the "Impressions of Boston" and I raffled off a lot of really great things - chocolate cheesecake, a handmade throw blanket, gift certificates to area restaurants, a gift certificate for acupuncture, bottles of wine, a running book, a chocolate fondue kit, a gift certificate for two to another paint night, and a few other things.  Everyone had an amazing time and all the paintings look great.  At the end of the night I raised about $700 for cancer research.  HUGE THANK YOU to Tutto Bene for hosting and helping organize the event. ( If you are in Lowell, you MUST go to their shop and check it out, they have a great selection of wines and cheeses and fine foods.

Yesterday I took the day off from work because we got a big snow storm and I didn't want my mom driving home in a blizzard.  It was nice, we just chilled on the couch all day and then shoveled out our cars when the snow slowed down in the afternoon, watched a movie and some TV, had a late lunch and yup, you guessed it - another nap.  Today, I was going to try and do the Thursday night Newton Hills run, but I'm so tired, didn't sleep well last night, and I've been going non-stop for days, so I think I'm just going to go home and ........ oh yeah, not hard to guess at this point....... NAP. 

I have a 14 mile long run planned this weekend, followed by possibly going cross country skiing, and I want to feel good for it so taking it easy for a few more days to get my body back to fully rested mentally and physically is not a bad idea. 

At the end of the week, with checks in the mail and everything all tallied up, my fundraising total should be just over $9000!!!!  Almost time to revise my goal.  I had put $10,000 originally, but secretly in my mind if things went well my goal was to be a DFMC Pacesetter and hit $13.1K soon as everything is updated I will be bumping my goal up.  Thank you to everyone that has contributed so far, and if you haven't there is still plenty of time to donate and any amount is acceptable.  A dollar per mile perhaps? $26.20.  Or give just $5, the cost of a cup of coffee, then ask 5 friends to do the same.  TOGETHER we can all make a difference and the DFMC team could raise over $5 million for innovative cancer research this year.  Please help and donate today: