Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lehigh Valley Half Marathon Recap!

Sorry it took me so long! I was waiting for some race pictures so hopefully it was worth the wait! Here we go...this is going to be a long one! (So long that I won't blame you if you don't read it!)

Let's start from Saturday morning (the morning before the race). I woke up at 7 hoping that an early-ish wake up would help me fall asleep on Saturday night. I finished packing and anxiously awaited Mom and Vic's arrival to the Lehigh Valley. We went out to a nice lunch on the North Side and got all caught up with one another. Then we headed to Allentown for packet pick-up for the race and to check in to the hotel.
 Vic and Me at the race expo

We walked around the race expo, and got our bibs and  shoe tags. Then we got fleece vests that said St. Luke's Lehigh Valley Half Marathon on them. They were really poor quality (like felt), so Vic and I decided to use them as our throw away clothes instead of something that we sort of liked. FYI throw away clothes are clothes that you wear at the beginning of the race and then toss them once you start running. Usually races will donate the discarded clothing. I had looked earlier in the week at Target for a hoodie or something, but they mostly only had summer clothes or they cost more money that I wanted to spend for something I was just going to throw away. So the crappy fleece vest was the perfect choice.

Next, we spotted Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run. I went over and said hi and told him that I was a fan of the book. I was going to run back to the car to get my book but he said he had to leave soon to go over to the kid's race that was going on across the street so I didn't bother. But it was still cool to meet him! Then mom bought me a fuel belt because we didn't think Vic's would be big enough for all of our stuff for race day. We ended up not using it for the race because you aren't supposed to do anything new on race day, but I'm excited to use it later! Mom also got us 13.1 stickers and magnets that we made her hold hostage until after the race...when we really deserved them haha!

 The sticker

After, we checked into the hotel and we went on the hunt for a grocery store to buy some instant oatmeal to make for breakfast in the hotel room pre-race. Then Mom left us and Vic and I chilled in the hotel room until our Team in Training dinner. While we were in the room I remembered that I had a little something for Vic and I asked her if she wanted her present before or after the race. She said before so I decided to give it to her then. I bought us each a bracelet with a charm on it that has 13.1 on one side and Courage Strength Resolve on the other side. I think she really liked it!
 Blurry shot of the charm

Around 6:00 we headed down the street to Allentown Brewworks. When we got there we headed up to the second floor (which is where Vic had her senior formal for Lehigh a couple years ago!). On our way up the stairs the coaches and mentors were cheering and using noise makers, etc. It really pumped us up! Then we got dinner (crappy pasta and chicken..I would have rather cooked myself...oh well) and watched a slide show of pictures of the people that everyone was running in honor/memory of. Then, we listened to some speakers. To be totally honest, a lot of times when there are speakers at TNT events I zone out. Listening to people tell survivor stories just makes me think...well that's not fair. Don't get me wrong, survivor stories are awesome and great for the survivor (duh), but it can be kind of hard to listen to such "happy" stories.

 <3 Dad's birthday party April, 2009

Then they announced the top 3 fundraisers from both Philly and Lehigh Valley (there were about 50 runners from these regions). Vic and I were the top 2 from Philly (and overall) woo! So again thanks for all of your support!! Anyone who raised more than $1,000 above the fundraising minimum (which we shattered) is considered a "rockstar" and we got lots of cool rockstar stuff! We go PA Rock Star stickers to put on our race singlets, Rock Star hats, Rock Star energy drinks (ew), and Rock Star certificates. It was fun and I Vic and I referred to ourselves as rock stars for the whole weekend!
 Vic with her sticker
Some of our TNT teammates and us

After the dinner we had a team meeting where the coaches gave tips for the race in the morning. They told us to enjoy the moment, they told us when to fuel, and what to wear, etc, etc, etc. Then we got to decorate our race singlets! They suggested that we write our names on them so that coaches and spectators could yell out our names when cheering us on during the race. Even though our bib's had our names on them already it was still fun to make our singlets our own. We wrote our names on tape across the tops of our shirts and then put our rock star stickers at the end of our names. On the back we pinned a picture of Daddy and wrote <3 Running for Daddy <3
 The front of my singlet
The front of Vic's singlet
 and our sign on the back

After decorating, we went back to the hotel and got in bed. It was ridiculously early but we wanted to get a good night's sleep. We watched part of a movie and chatted for a while. Then we truned the TV off and were just falling asleep when it sounded like someone was trying to come into our room! We kind of freaked out and that didn't help with falling asleep, so we watched some more of our movie and eventually fell asleep. I woke up a few times during the night, but slept much better than I thought I would. My alarm was set for 5:30 am (aka insanely early) but I woke up at 5 and never ended up falling asleep again.

Race Day!
At 5:30 we got up and got dressed. We made our coffee pot oatmeal and snapped a few pre-race pictures.
 Vic pre-race
Blurry mirror picture
Before we knew it, it was time to go downstairs to meet the team in the lobby. When we opened the door there were signs on our door that said "a hero sleeps behind this door" and there were letters from TNT. That was what had scared us the night before haha! It was a fun last minute thing to see before heading to the race.

 Waiting in the lobby

It looked like it was pretty rainy out but luckily Vic had picked up 2 ponchos from Target for us to wear. After waiting around in the lobby, we headed out to the shuttle bus which would bring us to William Allen High School, which was right near the race start. We went in the high school gym, found the bathroom, and hung around for a while before heading out into the rain to the starting line.

While we were waiting we saw one of Vic's friends from college who was also running the race! It was fun to see a familiar face. Once again, time flew and it was time to head out to the starting line. Vic and I had our ponchos and fleece vests over our race singlets, but I really wanted to show off my singlet and ditched my fleece before the race even started.Someone sang the national anthem and we were off!!! It was a little bit slow getting to the start line, but once we crossed it we were moving! After about a tenth of a mile we decided to toss our ponchos because it wasn't raining very hard at all. I had my iPod on really, really loud, I had mentioned not using my iPod for the race so I could take everything in, but I think the music helped to keep me motivated throughout the race and get in my zone...even if it did mean hearing damage :-/

At first the miles flew by, we were definitely moving slower than my usual pace, but I was sticking with Vic no matter what! There were about 5 or 6 water stations on the course and at each one I grabbed a cup of water. I would pinch the top to help sip it and not spill it all over myself while still running. But, somehow, at each stop I still ended up covered in water! Whoops! We saw 2 of the coaches, Aram and Brooke, at one point but we were feeling good and not that chatty, so they left us to go see if any other TNT runners needed help. The next picture I stole from the website...I know it's copyright infringement, but I wasn't paying 50 bucks for 3 mediocre sorry to any super law abiding readers, and sorry for the poor quality.


Around mile 5, Vic says she started to fade, and I did everything I could to keep her pumped up. Just after that we saw Mom and Aunt Nancy!!! I was so happy to see them!
 Hard to see, but we are in the middle of the picture waving!

Around mile 6, they had Gu (icky fuel for runners that skeeves me out) but I thought it was a little too early in the race (which others probably strongly disagree with but I didn't want to upset my tummy) so I didn't even think to mention to Vic that we should take our home-packed fuel out of her Spi Belt. I brought grapes and Vic brought pretzels. Soon after, we hit the half way point! We were on a trail for a bit here, and it was a nice change from the pavement, especially since I was so used to training on the trail around here. Vic was struggling and I kept trying to keep her spirits up. I even tried singing to her (Hey, Soul Sister by Train) but I'm not sure the other runners liked that too much even though I have such a lovely voice. Then, we ran into one of the TNT coaches, Linda, and she ran with us for a little bit before stopping to wait for other runners. 

As we continued on, I was trying to help Vic but I was also beginning to get frustrated about the slower than usual (for me) pace. We ended up bickering a little bit and I would run ahead a little and then wait for Vic. We ran through a covered bridge around mile 8, which I had noted on the map as being late-ish in the race, so that was exciting to have hit that point. We ran into Linda again and Vic mentioned that we hadn't fueled at all (other than water). I had completely forgotten about it!! Oops! Linda told us to eat now so it would hit us by mile 10. Usually I would stop to eat a little something, but I wanted to keep moving, so I ate my grapes while running. Vic felt like she was going to choke on her pretzels, so we slowed to a walk for about a minute.

Throughout the race there were rolling hills, but it was around this point that we hit some SUPER steep hills. I'm talking...vertical inclines. Surprisingly I felt amazing going up them. I didn't train much on hills (aside from some hills on my shorter runs, or if I ever ran back from the trail on long runs), so it was cool that I could tackle the hills without much effort. On one of the hills, just after Vic and I had been arguing about pace, a woman passed us. She had read the signs on our backs and said, "You're making Daddy proud". It was so amazing to hear that, and may or may not have made me tear up a bit. Then we crossed the same point where we had seen Mom and Nancy before and they were still there cheering for us. While Mom took pictures I ran up and gave Nancy a high five while cheering my head off!
High five!

Soon we hit mile 10! Only 3 more miles! These were harder miles because you could see the stadium (where the race ended), but we knew we still had to go out and back for a stretch before we would do our last turn around and be on the home stretch. And it was kind of windy, so every time you thought you were at the end, the course would curve and you would see that you actually had a ways more to go. 
 More running!

After that point though, we saw Aram again, and he helped Vic power through. Aram left us for a little bit to go help some other runners, but then he found us again around mile 12 and he ran with Vic for almost the rest of the way. Then Brooke found me and she ran with me even though I was feeling amazing. She even said to me she had never seen anyone with such a big smile on their face at mile 12! I told her I was ready for a full marathon! It might have been all of the endorphins talking...but we'll see!

Just before the stadium there was a huge incline, which we had been warned about, and even though I was feeling great, how evil is it to put a huge hill at mile 13?!?! As we were powering up that hill Vic saw 2 of her co-workers and I saw my best friend Danielle and her boyfriend Bob holding up an "I <3 Team Berenholz" sign. I jumped up and down and cheered when I saw them! Then we were in the stadium and I grabbed Vic's hand. We had less than a lap around the track to go and we picked up our pace slightly. We saw our family cheering us on which was just the motivation we needed to finish that last little stretch.
 Here we come!!

Then we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. We had finished!!!! Our chip time was 2:22:20. My Garmin was messed up the whole race so I don't know our splits, but our average pace was 11:06. While that is slower than I trained I am so proud that Vic and I did this together!!
 Another stolen picture. Us crossing the finish line!!!!!

They wrapped us in the space blanket thingys (I don't know the real term) to lock the heat in and then we got our finisher's medals! I was so excited!
 So happy!

Then I found Danielle and Bob and as we were looking for our family we saw one of the the old instructors from my gym and he told us he thought our hand holding finish was awesome. We took some more pictures and drank a little water.
 Holding our sign
We did it!!
We signed in at the TNT booth and got some race pins and then we headed to the car. It was kind of crazy how quickly everything ended! Vic and I went back to the hotel to shower and pack up. Then we headed back up towards school for a post-race lunch. I was ready to crash the whole time, and basically as soon as we were done we left and Mom dropped me back off at my house. When I went into my room I saw that Danielle had propped up the sign she had held up for me at the race. I gave her the play-by-play of my race and I lounged around and relaxed for the rest of the day. I tried to fight off napping because I didn't want to screw up my sleep schedule too much. When I finally let myself go sleep I passed out as soon as I hit the pillow and slept for 10.5 hours!

Since I had such an incredible time at the race, it gave me a clearer answer to the "what's next?" question. I will definitely be doing distance runs again in the future. For the days following the race (this past week), I took it easy and made sure my legs fully recovered from the race. I ended up taking 2 days off from working out and then did some easy stuff the rest of the week. I haven't done any real running since the race and I don't want to lose any of my endurance so I plan to get back to it this week. As fun as I think it would be to do a triathlon, I think for now I'll be sticking to just running. I want to do a half marathon for time, and I'd like to try doing some training runs longer than 13 miles to see if a full is in the cards. It might not be, and I'm okay with that, but if there was a ever a time to find out/do a full marathon, I think now is it! As long as I'm still having fun training and if I like doing even longer long runs, then I think I'll go for it.

I have also gotten a ton of requests to keep blogging. There is definitely a negative connotation associated with blogging.

But, I have really enjoyed keeping track of my training and telling Daddy stories, and why not do what you enjoy?! So, for those of you who have liked reading this're in luck! Check out my new blog I will be writing about training for my next race (whenever and whatever that is) and about moving into Philly post-graduation (hopefully sometime soon). Of course my posts will still have Dad-isms in them because he is always with me. Whatever comes next, Dad is in my heart <3

Thanks for reading thanks for donating, and thanks for your support.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Race Recap Teaser

We did it!!! Vic and I ran the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon yesterday and it was amazing!!! Race recap to come once I get all of the pictures back and our chip times, etc. But it was such an incredible day.
Finishers medal!!!!


Friday, April 23, 2010


Today Dad would have been 51 years old. It's a weird day for all of us. Weird to think that a year ago we were celebrating Dad's 50th birthday with a big, fun party at our house.
The 4 of us at Dad's 50th birthday party, April, 2009 <3

Today would be an excellent day to go for a head-clearing run. Too bad we're in rest mode. Tomorrow we have the race expo and some other race related events. Then Sunday is the big day!

Happy Birthday Daddy!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

So Close

It's official. I am DONE with training for the half marathon which is THIS Sunday!!! So crazy. I woke up this morning not really feeling like getting up. I knew I could have technically skipped this run and it wouldn't have mattered, but I have this irrational fear that every time I go out for a run I won't be able to do it. I have no idea why I think this, because I have run regularly for quite some time now. Whatever the reason for my irrationality, I still wanted to prove to myself that I could do these last 4 training miles.

I got up and decided to head down to the trail because it's easier to run on and today was not supposed to be a difficult run or anything. As I headed out I kept repeating in my head "nice, easy 4 miles, that's it" because I didn't want to over do it today. My first mile was slow and steady, the next one was a little faster, and the third mile was slightly faster than the second. Since I knew I had negative splits for the first 3 miles I couldn't let that slip away and I just let my legs do their thing for the last mile. So much for nice and easy. Here are the splits:

Mile 1: 10:30
Mile 2: 10:07
Mile 3: 9:59
Mile 4: 9:06
Mile 5: 18:02 (cool down)
.04: 44 seconds (cool down)

I've said it a zillion times, but this race is not about time, and so I'm trying to relax about that for Sunday. But, when it comes to running, I am pretty competitive against myself (not really against other people) and I do have a goal in mind for Sunday. I would like to run the race exactly how I ran today, with the first 5 miles at a steady pace, the second 5 at a medium pace, the last ~3 at a fast-ish pace and the last half or quarter of a mile as fast as my legs are willing to go. We'll see how things go this weekend, but this race is about so much more than just time and I'm really excited about running with my sister. That being said...I have my eye on another half marathon in September...but let's get through Sunday first!

13.1 here I come!!!

Happy Earth Day!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's next?

This morning I did a "trial run" of what I'll wear for race day. I had pants on the bottom, even though I love my shorts, the weather has been a bit more chilly lately. On top I wore a long sleeved UnderArmor top, with my purple TNT race singlet on top. If it's not too cold on race day I will ditch the UnderArmor, but this morning it was cold-- I even wore my gloves! I was only supposed to run 4 miles today, but when I hit mile 4 I wanted to keep going. So I did 4.5...shh don't tell. I was excited to do that last half mile because I finally figured out how to work the lap button on my Garmin, so I didn't have to do any mental math to figure out that split! Then I cooled down with a mile of walking. The splits:

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 9:31
Mile 4: 9:43
4.5: 4:53
Cool down mile: 17:27

This run felt really great. I can definitely see myself continuing to do 4-5 mile runs in the morning before class (for the next week)/work (once I start). Which brings me to..."what's next?!" I wasn't going to talk about this until after the race, to see how that went, but I'm sure I will have a lot to say after the race, and I'd rather cover this now...

People have been asking me what I plan to do after the race in terms of running. I will definitely, 100% keep running. I'll probably take a week or 2 off to let myself recover, but then I plan to get back at it. I probably won't run on consecutive days like I used to do in the fall, but I can see myself running 3-4 times per week (every other day).

I'm assuming I'm going to love the racing atmosphere and unless I'm wrong, I would like to sign up for another race at some point. Since I'm not doing this race for time, and I plan on crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with Vic, I think I would like to do a half marathon for time at some point. I'm pretty burnt out from training, but it's also been a lot of fun, so I would do it again.

While I'll never say never, I just don't think a full marathon is in the future for me. Doing training runs of 10, 11, and 12 miles was time consuming enough...imagine the time commitment for 18, 20, 22 mile training runs!! Ah! I think I'd enjoy doing shorter 5k and 10k...for fun or for time.

The big one, that I can't believe I'm even going to mention, is that I've had in the back of my mind...trying a triathlon. I know I could handle the run, I think I could handle the bike, and with a little practice/ getting over my fear of open water (or the Schuykill River) I could probably, maybe do the swim? Again, I never say never, and this may or may not happen at some point in the future.

Obviously, I still have to get through this Sunday, and then we'll see from there! Whatever it is I end up doing though I know Dad will be with me through every mile!

Dad and Me before my prom, April, 2006


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poker Face

This weekend one of Daddy's doctors, Dr. Weber, and Vic planned the Robert Berenholz Memorial Poker Tournament. Dr. Weber and Daddy bonded over their love of poker and Dad had planned on going to Atlantic City to kick his butt haha. Friends of Dad, some of Vic's friends from Puerto Rico, and some family came together to play in a poker tournament with the money going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The tournament was a huge success! We had 27 players, and we ended up raising over $3,600 for LLS!! if we didn't know it before, the tournament kind of showed that I am my father's daughter. Dad taught me everything he knew about poker, and I guess it payed off because I WON! Daddy would have been proud :)

That chip is worth $500! I'm wearing Dad's "I knocked out a pro" tee shirt

After the tournament, Vic, her friends who were in town, and I went out in Philly sporting our awesome new tee-shirts!

This morning, Vic and I went for our last team run. Since we were staying in a hotel in Philly we got to have a "practice run" for race day. We got dressed and made some hot water in the coffee pot in the hotel room to make pre-run oatmeal. Then we headed down to Kelly Drive for an easy 6 miles. Before we set out, one of the guys who works for TNT, Andy, announced the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon fundraising total-- I think it was about $40,000! Since other TNT team members are running in different races later in the season Andy wanted to get them jazzed about fundraising and he gave Vic and Me a shout out for having the highest fundraising total on the team! So thanks to everyone who helped us get to our fundraising goal and more!!

After that, we set out for our run. My iPod battery died so I ran part way without music, which was actually kind of nice and since there are going to be 14 bands on the course for the race I might run without it next Sunday. My Garmin memory was also full, so I turned it off because it makes a really annoying beeping sound every tenth of a mile when the memory is low. I'm glad I had these 2 tech glitches this week rather than next week. I will definitely charge my iPod if I decide I want it for next week and I already cleared my Garmin's memory.

Since this was a taper week, the TNT coaches instructed us to just take it easy and not try to PR or anything today. There was one point around mile 4 where I was itching to pick up the pace but I held back because I know it will be worth it come Sunday.

Since I ran without my Garmin and Vic left her's in the car I'm not quite sure what our splits were. But that's ok, because next week we are definitely going to go slow and steady, and I'm trying not to get caught up with time.

After the run, Vic and I got a bunch of info about the race for next weekend, our race day shirts, and lots of other cool TNT stuff. Then we chatted with the coaches for a while about this upcoming week. I told one of the coaches that I was planning on doing 5 miles both Tuesday and Thursday (as usual). The coach told me to only do 3, but I negotiated and she said 4 would be fine. So just 8 miles stand between me and the starting line! I can't believe that the race is finally upon us!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

No run

Ok, ok I know I said I wanted a break from running...but I swear I didn't mean it (although a no-pressure-3-mile-run does sound pretty fabulous). The running gods are punishing me for saying I was burnt out. I also know that I probably sound like the biggest hypochondriac in the world...

First my IT band, my ankle (which now feels fine), my toe (which I've never mentioned on the blog...but I have "runners toe"'s gross, believe me, you're glad I haven't talked about it), and now this...

On Tuesday night I was at work when my left knee started to feel funny. I thought nothing of it...I may have been sitting with my knee locked out and my laptop on my lap? Or maybe it was from Tuesday morning's run? Anyway, I woke up Wednesday morning and it hurt to even walk. I took some Advil and it ended up feeling good enough to go to Spinning class. I felt completely fine throughout my spin, but then last night my knee started to hurt again. A lot. I'm guilty of "running through pain" which ALWAYS is bad news. Last night I decided to make absolutely sure my knee felt okay before going on a run this morning. When my alarm went off I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I went back to bed (poor me! haha) and when I woke up an hour and a half later my knee was still I popped some more Advil. I headed off to class and again my knee felt fine. I didn't feel much pain for most of the day, and after work as I was driving home to Philly I thought I saw a run in my future!

When I got home, I was mentally plotting a 5 mile route for myself when I felt a twinge of pain in my knee. "It's not there, nothing's wrong, I'm fine, etc, etc, etc" were the thoughts that flew through my head....but I couldn't ignore it. No run :( Since the team run isn't until Sunday I can technically go for a run tomorrow and still get a rest day on Saturday, but I'm only going if my knee feels 100%. The "old" me would have pushed through the pain, but with the race just days away I'm trying to do anything and everything to make sure nothing happens to me before April 25. I know skipping one 5 mile run will not make or break the race, so I'm okay with skipping one of this week's runs, but I really hope giving myself the extra rest is worth it!

In class today I swear every single person around me was hacking up a lung coughing or sneezing. My professor even claimed that she had some weird stomach bug on Tuesday and asked us not to leave if she had to uh...toss her cookies. I can get sick on April 26, but until then...keep your germs to yourself!!

Ok, rant over. Send good knee and germ free vibes my way!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pushing through

I'm choosing a pretty bad time to want a break from running. With just TWELVE days til the race I'm starting to feel a little burnt out from training. I know I can push through and I'll make it to race day, but today's run was a challenge for me. First, I's a good thing my roommate goes to work early because I would have kept sleeping had she not opened our front door (which beeps) when she left for work. It was after 7 which is over a half hour later than I usually wake up for my early morning runs, and I almost talked myself out of going. But I knew I would feel a lot better if I went for my run than if I didn't. Even if I didn't have enough time for my full 5 miles, I knew a short run would be worth it. I got ready really quickly and ended up having enough time for my full run.

Today's run showed me the perks of blogging about my training. I felt like quitting a few times (see above...burnt out...) but then I knew I would have to write about how I only ran X number of miles instead of the 5 miles I had planned. I would have to write about how I was a quitter...which I certainly am not! I powered through my run as best I could and even though it was a really tough run, my splits were respectable (for me):

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 10:03
Mile 3: 9:51
Mile 4: 10:00
Mile 5: 10:02
.4: 7:15 (cool down, cut short in the interest of time)
Total time: 57:01, 5 mile run time: 49:46

My ankle felt funny around mile 3 (it started hurting Sunday morning but then felt okay on Monday). This concerns me, since I haven't had any ankle pain throughout training, and I will be keeping a close watch on it and stretching (my favorite is the spider walk...but the images you get when you google image search that are kind of scary haha).

On Sunday my roommate and I both had the thought to go take pictures around campus. We did this when it was snowy out, and wanted to get some good spring shots.
Pretty flower
 Walkway through campus
 The UC

After my run this morning I quickly got ready and went to class where I found out that I rocked the test I had last week. It was just what I needed to turn my mood around after my lackluster run! I also don't have to go into work until an hour and a half later than I usually do! I'm off to stretch and relax a little since this morning was so rushed.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Last Long Run

Today was my LAST double digits run until the race! I'm officially tapering! Next weekend I'll be home to do a final run with TNT, it'll be 6 miles and since I'll get to do it with Vic I think it will just be a fun, relaxing run. Then, the weekend after that it's race day--I can't believe it's SO soon! I decided a little while back, to cut back my mileage, so even though TNT's schedule for the week said to do 12 miles, I just did 10 miles of running plus 2 miles of walking with the warm up and the cool down. I felt great during the run, and I definitely could have pushed through and done a couple more miles, but right now my goal is to make it to the start line (and then hopefully the finish line)! Today's run felt unbelievably natural. It's so strange to me how 10 miles can feel so normal! I tried not to focus on time too much because, again, I just wanted to finish uninjured. I always aim for negative splits, which I definitely didn't hit today, but that's okay. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 17:13 (warm up)
Mile 2: 9:30
Mile 3: 9:56
Mile 4: 10:04
Mile 5: 10:11
Mile 6: 10:07
Mile 7: 9:51
Mile 8: 10:35 (I walked the stairs from the trail back up to the bridge to prevent killing myself)
Mile 9: 10:13
Mile 10: 10:16
Mile 11: 9:16
Mile 12: 17:41 (cool down)
Total time: 2:14:59, 10 miles of running 1:40:05

I was glad this morning to find that it wasn't 90 degree outside, but it was SO windy today. I know I've said that before, but I think this might have been the windiest! After mile 8 (7 miles of running, plus the warm up), I stopped home for some water and 4 grapes. The grapes didn't upset my stomach at all, so maybe that will be my fuel of choice on race day? I really didn't want to stop because when I did 11 miles a few weeks ago it was pretty difficult for me to start running again after my water break. But, I know hydration and proper fueling is really important, so I stopped anyway. When I headed back out after my ~2 minute water break my legs felt completely fine! It was nice to know I only had 3 more miles to go after the water break too. For my last mile I tried to really pick up my pace, I ran mile 10 a whole minute faster than mile 9, I'd say that was success!

Time for some R&R (which Daddy was a pro at)!

Hanging out in Puerto Rico, May, 2009
Getting a massage in Puerto Rico, May, 2009


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sleep Running

I have 2 "Dad stories" to tell today:

Story #1: Yesterday in my spinning class the warm up song was All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow. If I had to choose one song that I grew up on, it would be that one (with Melissa Ethridge's Come to my Window as a close second). I distinctly remember car rides where Dad would play All I Wanna Do over and over at Vic and my request. This past 4th of July Daddy drove me and some of my girlfriend's downtown for a free Sheryl Crow concert and fireworks. I don't have any pictures of Dad from that night, and the pictures of Sheryl are pretty weak, but here's a shot of the fireworks!
oooh aaah
Story #2: Dad had this crazy ability where he could sleep anytime, anywhere. My cousin Jamie used to call him "the man who sleeps with his shoes on" because he would nap with his shoes on (but no socks of course). When I was little and couldn't fall asleep he used to say "just close your eyes, it's easy!". The past few days, I've been lacking in the sleep department. I've been playing catch-up because of my exam on Tuesday, so I've stayed up later than usual. 

This morning I almost overslept too! I always give myself a ton of time in the morning so even though I slept 23 minutes later than normal I knew I could still fit in my planned 5 miles. I hustled to get ready and was out the door! Since I got outside mere minutes after waking up I think I was still half asleep. My leg were moving but I hardly even knew I was running! It was kind of nice to just totally zone out. I started with my usual route on the roads but at mile 4.67 when I got to the stairs on the bridge that lead to the trail I decided I wanted to go for an extra mile today. I made it to the trail right when I hit 5 miles, by this point I was aware that I was running and not zoned out anymore, but I only had to push through 1 mile...nothing to it!

I went out half a mile and back half a mile. But then I thought..."why not go for a 10k?!" As I was running the last little bit I couldn't remember whether a 10k was 6.2 or 6.4 miles, so I decided to run 6.5 :) (I just googled's 6.2 miles) I did the 6.5 miles in 1 hour 3 minutes and 3 seconds. Then I walked a mile home. I made it back with just enough time to get ready for class--perfect! Since I was zoned out during my run, I barely glanced at my watch, which was sort of refreshing. When I got home and plugged my Garmin in I was pretty happy with my splits:

Mile 1: 10:09
Mile 2: 10:16
Mile 3: 9:39
Mile 4: 9:27
Mile 5: 9:55
Mile 6: 9:06 (!!!)
Mile 7: 13:52 (half of this mile was running, half was cool down)
.53: 10:08 (cool down)

Pretty good considering I almost slept through it! After class I had a nice phone chat with Mom who had lunch with Carol, a family friend, yesterday. I heard that she reads the Hi Carol!

This weekend is my last double digits run before the race!!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

March Madness

Saying Dad was a sports fan is a gross understatement. Daddy loved to watch football and baseball and play golf but he didn't discriminate against other sports too. He was a hard core Eagles and Phillies fan. He passed at least an interest in sports onto me. Every year when March Madness rolled around, I would fill out a bracket haphazardly and convince Dad to pay my way into his office pool. I really didn't pay much attention to who was the best, and I usually picked my teams based on which name I liked better--with one exception. Every single year, for as long as I can remember, I would have Duke winning it all. Once when I was little Duke won, and ever since I have always picked them as the champs regardless of their standing.

This year I got an email about Dad's office pool, but it just wasn't the same without Dad (and his buy in), so I didn't fill out a bracket. Of course, Duke had to go and win this year!!!

Oh well! Anyway, this morning I woke up even earlier than usual to get a run in before my exam. It was definitely a mental game over a physical one today. My legs felt pretty good (hopefully I don't jinx myself), but I was preoccupied with getting in some last minute studying before my test. I still managed to do a 5 mile run and a mini cool down all before 7:35. Today's splits:

Mile 1: 9:55
Mile 2: 10:03
Mile 3:10:03
Mile 4: 10:01
Mile 5: 9:46
.48: 8:42 (cool down)

When I saw that I was 2 seconds over a ten minute pace at the end of mile 4 I was determined to finish mile 5 in 9:58 or less. The last half mile was across the bridge though and so it was really windy, but I finished strong and managed to keep my total time less than a 10 minute pace. I love giving myself little goals like that and then beating them! Then I cut my cool down a little short so I could study a bit before my exam. Which thankfully is over!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blood, Sweat, and Dirt

I have to try to make this post quick because I should be studying for my exam this Tuesday, but I had a pretty extreme run today, and would rather procrastinate and write about that instead. This morning I laced up the sneakers, slathered myself with sun screen and headed down to the trail. I decided to bring a water bottle today because I try not go more than 6 miles without hydrating and I had 8 miles planned for today. I also I don't like stopping back at my house for anything less than 9 miles. I wanted to experiment with steady hydration throughout my run, because that will probably be more what the race will be like with more frequent water stations. I was surprisingly not annoyed by holding the water bottle the whole time.

It was really nice outside, except once I started running I realized just how HOT it was. I was sweating after one mile. I was glad I had the water because it helped me get through the heat! Then after I had been running for a mere 2 miles, I ran passed 2 women on bikes, I waved as I usually do when I pass people and so I wasn't look at the trail in front of me. Suddenly, I went flying forward and skidded across the ground. I had tripped over the tiniest little rock sticking out of the ground :( My legs were all scratched up. I was covered in blood, dirt and sweat. After I stood up, I poured some of the water from my water bottle on my legs to try and clean them off but it didn't really help much and I wanted to save the water to drink. A man came over to ask if I was okay, and I said "yeah I'm fine, only 6 more miles to go!" he looked at me like I was insane and then I started to run again, I wasn't going to let one little fall stop me! There were a ton of people on the trail today and everyone kept looking at my shins as I ran by. I must have looked so hard core :)
 My hand after the run, and Daddy's wedding ring

 My legs after the run

I ran 4 miles out and 4 miles back on the trail, which is further than I've ever run on the trail because when it was snowy I usually only made it out 2 miles before the trail ended. It was fun to see more of the trail and it was really beautiful. My only complaint about today is that there were a ton of people fishing (that part doesn't bother each their own) but they were all smoking!

When I hit the 4 mile turn around, I was in for a rude awakening, it was SO windy going in the other direction. It slowed me down a ton, but I powered through. Then at mile 6.18 (1 of which was the walking warm up), I got such a bad stomach cramp that I had to stop. I waited about a minute, and then started running again. I think stopping was key here rather than running through it. I get stomach cramps fairly often when I'm running, and usually can run through it, but this one was really bad-- I was practically doubled over. Let's hope that doesn't happen on race day! I think drinking the water might have had something to do with it (but maybe not). So for the rest of the run, every time I took a sip of water, I spit it out. I was pretty thirsty from the heat today that I needed to take little sips, but I didn't want to aggravate my stomach, this helped me get through the rest of the run just fine.

I thought about going running for an extra mile, but I was so hot, and I figured I'd had enough with my fall and everything. I also didn't want to overdo it, so I called it quits when I got to 8 miles running. Then I walked 1.08 miles home for a cool down. On my walk my stomach started hurting again...ugh! When I got home I took pictures of my legs haha, and then I finally showered and cleaned myself up. The shower hurt so so so much! The water hitting my cuts was super painful. But I feel better now that I am nice and clean!

Today's splits:
Mile 1: 17:45 (warm up)
Mile 2: 9:26
Mile 3: 9:49 (I fell at 3.03)
Mile 4: 9:42
Mile 5: 9:41
Mile 6: 10:06 (hello wind!)
Mile 7: 10:25
Mile 8: 10:18
Mile 9: 9:55
Mile 10: 18:23 (cool down)
.08: 1:33
Total time: 1:57:09, run time 1:19:28

Yay sub 10 minute pace! I looked back at my blog post from when I ran 8 miles back in February and even though that run was very snowy, I beat my run time by more than 4 minutes! It's pretty cool that I can look back and see how I've improved.

Time to study!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm back!

The past few days, I have been seriously freaking out about whether or not I would even be able to do the race. Sunday's run went horribly and I was really worried that I was going to be out of commission. But, I spoke with my best friend from home, who is a seasoned half-marathoner, and she said to just take a couple rest days and to see how I felt after that. She also said that when she trained for her half, she never ran more than 10 miles. So I took Monday and Tuesday off from any form of exercise and I've decided to eliminate my 13 mile training run that I had planned for this weekend and run 8 miles instead.

Taking 2 days off was not easy, I was pretty antsy and really wanted to move! But, it was worth it. I realized that while I thought I was okay after the 12 mile run, my IT band was really acting up. It was just a different kind of pain than before. Before, it was sharp and kind of felt like it was on the "surface". The pain I felt after the 12 mile run was deeper and duller, but still constant. I think that's why I thought I was fine. I'm sure those descriptions don't make a ton of sense, but instead of pain, it's more like an intense tightness now.

The 2 day rest definitely helped though, because my legs felt fresh and ready to run this morning! I decided to take it easy and planned on only running 4 miles. When I got up this morning the sun was shining and I knew it was going to be a beautiful day for a run!

Since it was so nice out I decided to take my new running shorts and singlet for a spin. When I was home before my trip to DC, I went to Target to get some running clothes for warm weather since I only have cold weather gear. I got 1 pair of shorts and 1 singlet (tank top). I actually prefer wearing Target work out clothes compared to my Underarmor or Nike stuff for some reason. And it's much cheaper, so that's kind of awesome. When I put on my new shorts this morning I almost screamed with shorts have a little pocket for a key!!! It's the little things in life, right?!

I left for my run, (with my key in the little pocket!) and decided to start with a warm up mile just to loosen up my legs a bit. I headed down to the trail and set out to do my 4 miles. I could tell as soon as I started running that this would be different than Sunday's sucky six (I have a thing for alliterations...) It felt SO good to run! I think those days off really, really helped. Which, when you think about it makes perfect sense. I mean I ran 10, 11, and 12 miles in consecutive weeks with only 1 day of rest BEFORE the long run, not after. What was I thinking?! Sometimes I need some sense knocked into me, unfortunately it's usually after I suffer some sort of injury.

I need to do more of this

As I was running, and hitting fantastic splits (for me), I thought why not push for 5 miles? I know I should be taking it easy, but I felt so good and it was so nice outside I just couldn't help it! So 5 miles it was! And then I cooled down with a 1 mile walk home. Here are today's splits:

Mile 1: 16:38 (warm up)
Mile 2: 9:09
Mile 3: 9:08
Mile 4: 9:25
Mile 5: 9:11
Mile 6: 9:07
Mile 7: 18:07 (cool down)
.09: 1:40 (cool down)
Total time: 1:22:30

I ended up doing the exact same distance as my run on Sunday (by accident, because I took a different route). Only on Sunday I ran 6 and walked 1.09, whereas today I ran 5 and walked 2.09, but the crazy thing is that I finished today's run FASTER than Sunday's! I don't know if there was ever a bigger sign that I needed those rest days! When I got home I had to hustle off to work because I was running late, so I didn't have time to stretch or ice. But I think I also really need to step that up in the last few weeks of training, in addition to maybe taking it slightly easier on myself.

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful spring day!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hitting the Pavement

After a long hiatus from blogging, and a short hiatus from running, I was back on the road this gorgeous spring evening for a mid-week shortie.

Apologies for the abrupt disappearance from the "blogosphere," I promise I've been doing MUCH better at adhering to the training plan (thanks to my slave driver - I mean sister).  I even hit 11 miles down at Kelly Drive on Sunday!  I just haven't been able to find the words to match the work my legs and feet are putting into this journey.

Now that I'm back (hopefully for good!) I had two newsworthy items I wanted to share with you:

--Last Thursday Melissa and I got our bib numbers!  I'm apparently the only one who's excited about this, but it just seems to make the race that much more official!  My bib number is 1808 and Melissa's is 1809.

--Last Thursday was also a big milestone because we hit the ONE MONTH till race day mark!  April 25 is just around the corner - so exciting!  Melissa mapped out my training plan for the rest of the month - so I have no excuses for not being ready mentally and physically come race day. (thanks sis!)

Here's a quick recap of my recent runs since the last post by me:
3/20 - 6 miles in Providence, RI - running in a new city definitely taught me that I want to know the course and landmarks prior to race day.  I will definitely be driving the course ahead of time so I know what to expect!

3/24 - 6 miles in Lower Merion - amazing run!  beautiful night!  I love daylight savings time.

3/28 - 11 miles at Kelly Drive - my legs are STILL reeling from that one...

3/31 (tonight) 5 miles in Lower Merion - a quick little run on a lovely evening

To celebrate another great run, I'm heading to Rita's tonight for my first water ice of the season.  Dad loved water ice (pronounced wooder ice for all of you non-philadelphians) - he would always get a combo of chocolate cherry.  After Phillies games we'd head to Pop's in South Philly for water ice, down the shore we'd go to Lucy's, and any random evening we'd hit up Rita's or Lix in the neighborhood.  Dad had his favorite water ice hot spots in any neighborhood!  In celebration of Dad tonight - I think I'll get a chocolate cherry myself!

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rest & Reading

Last night when I got back from DC (which was tons of fun!) I was talking to my roommate about how I didn't even feel like I had ran 12 miles the day before. Well, I jinxed myself. This morning my legs would NOT listen to me. I was running so slowly and even though my head was in it, I just could not run faster. I think I saw a snail pass me. Since I wanted to push harder, I don't think it had anything to do with laziness or lacking heart. I think after the past couple runs, I'm just physically exhausted.

I'm considering cutting a run out this week or cutting my mileage on my long run this week. This is the last week I had planned on increasing my mileage before race day anyway. I really wanted to run 13 miles before race day, but I'm not sure if it's the smartest idea to push myself past my limits. I know that I can finish the half marathon, even if it's not as fast as I would like it to be, so maybe easing up a bit would be beneficial. I need to think about it some more.  

Here are my not-so-hot splits:

Mile 1: 10:34
Mile 2: 9:59
Mile 3: 10:38
Mile 4: 11:19
Mile 5: 11:32
Mile 6: 11:05
Mile 7: 20:04 (cool down)
.09: 1:45

The first 3 miles went well and then my legs were like "no way, we're not doing this anymore!" Frustrating.

Anyway, I finally finished the book Born to Run that Vic sent to me!

I really enjoyed reading it. Parts of it were really slow but for the most part it was a really interesting book. Some passages were so inspiring and made me want to throw my book aside and lace up my shoes! Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you'll get more than you ever imagined."
"If there's any magic bullet to make human beings healthy, it's to run."
"Running was the superpower that made us human--which means it's a superpower all humans possess."
"Just move your legs. Because if you don't think you were born to run, you're not only denying history. You're denying who you are."

I think that last one is so powerful! Over the weekend Vic and I were talking about how we have the ability to relate virtually any situation to Dad. Vic said, "I can make everything about Dad...even........socks" and then she said, "actually socks are an easy one, but you know what I mean." Obviously socks are an easy one...because of his hatred for them haha. Anyway, Dad was the fastest reader I've ever seen. He could pick up a book and wouldn't put it down until he was done (usually later that same day). Here is a picture of Daddy caught in the act of reading Cosmo, and you can see that he isn't wearing socks :) 

 Fall 2008

I'm off to rest these legs!


Friday, March 26, 2010


That was hands down the hardest run I've ever been on. The ENTIRE time I was just thinking about how bad it hurt. From mile 1 all the way to mile 12, I struggled. After my rough run earlier this week, I had high hopes for today. However, I just felt off this morning. I think it might have been a combination of just being tired and slightly dehydrated (despite a good nights sleep and trying to drink lots of water). Either way, my heart was just not in it today. I'm going to write my splits now and just get it over with. They are kind of embarrassing, but oh well, I'm still proud of myself for finishing the hardest 12 miles ever. Also, I'm not going to write any notes like I did last week, because basically my thoughts the whole time were "this sucks! X miles to go! Don't quit!!!!"

Mile 1: 10:25
Mile 2: 10:29
Mile 3: 10:38
Mile 4: 10:38
Mile 5: 10:40
Mile 6: 10:57
Mile 7: 11:02
Mile 8: 11:09
Mile 9: 11:13
Mile 10: 11:10
Mile 11: 11:20
Mile 12: 11:01
Mile 13: 16:56 (.11 was still running, the rest was cool down)
.06: .57
I ran 12.11 miles in roughly 2 hours and 12 minutes. With the cool down the total time was 2 hours, 28 minutes, 43 seconds

As you can see, this was much slower than I've been running on my other runs (both long and short). I was a little discouraged at first, but my main purpose for running this race is to remember Daddy and hopefully help accelerate finding a cure for blood cancers. With that being said, as nice as it would be to meet my speed goals, I don't really care about anything except for finishing the race.

I had planned on writing about more than just my run in this post, but I think a nap is in order...right now! Then I'm off for a trip to DC with Mom and Vic. My cousin Jon is giving us a tour of the White House. So excited!
 Daddy and Jon


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Squashing negativity

I read a quote a few days ago it was "if it were easy, everyone would do it". I forget where I saw it, but it was in reference to running either a half or a whole marathon. But I suppose you could apply this quote to running any distance, or any situation really. Anyway, while Friday's and Sunday's runs weren't necessarily easy, they weren't exactly hard either. I was beginning to think my attitude towards running was crazy! However, today that was not the case.

I woke up and did not want to get out of bed at all. I thought about skipping my run, I thought up every imaginable excuse:
"I'm still tired"...but I knew once I got up I'd feel fine.
"It rained yesterday and it's supposed to rain again today"...but it wasn't raining when I woke up.
"I don't feel like it"...but my IT band has been feeling fine (knock on wood) and I know that when I couldn't run before I wished that I could.
After hitting snooze a few times, I finally got up.
I headed outside to do my usual early morning run on the roads. My legs did not want to move. I had to push through every single step. I almost quit several times, but then I imagined how I would feel if I quit, and how I would feel if I finished my 5 miles and kept chugging along. I kept playing mental games with myself (only X more miles) to try and squash the negative thoughts I was having. Around mile 4.5 I almost stopped but then forced myself to run the last half mile. When I hit the planned 5 miles, I forced myself to run a quarter mile more as a "punishment" for all my negativity. In retrospect, that was kind of a dumb idea, because even though it might not be easy, running shouldn't be a punishment! One bad run doesn't mean that I hate running, but I'm looking forward to the runs I have planned for later this week so I can redeem myself from today's bad run. Despite the fact that I was mentally not in it today, my splits were decent! I managed to hit negative splits...maybe to match my mood ;)

Mile 1: 10:30
Mile 2: 10:20
Mile 3: 10:07
Mile 4: 10:07
Mile 5: 10:01
.79: 12:25 (.25 was still running, .54 was cool down walking)

After my run, my cool down was extremely slow and I took a super long shower. Then I took a long time getting ready. Before I knew it, I only had a few minutes to get to class. I caught myself thinking "let's boogie" which is something Dad always said :) 

I have a lot of fun things planned for later this week, which I'm really excited about! Included in that is this week's long run...TWELVE miles!! I'll post a recap after! 


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Ok I'm going to make this a very speedy post, because I spent all day outside yesterday instead of doing work. Even though I have a ton to do today, it was such a great weekend! My roommate and I laid out on our roof and sipped some drinks for a few hours. Though the trees were still bare, it was a beautiful day:

Before laying out yesterday, I hit the gym to bike for a little while. I'm convinced that biking after my long runs is what keeps my legs from feeling stiff and sore. After, I didn't even feel like I had ran 11 miles the day before!

This morning I had a short 5 mile run planned. It's funny how just a few weeks ago that was my "long run" and now I consider 5 to be short! It was so nice outside on my run today! I went down to the trail, and it was packed with runners, walkers, and bikers. I ran a mile to the trail, then I had planned to do 2 out and 2 back, and then do a cool down walk home. When I hit my turn around point I decided to go a little further. It was just too nice outside and I didn't want my run to end because I'm going to be inside for the rest of the day trying to finish (and start) 2 projects :( So I ended up running 6 miles, and then I had to force myself to stop and walk home 1.11 miles. The splits:

Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 9:37
Mile 3: 9:58
Mile 4: 10:31
Mile 5: 10:21
Mile 6: 9:34
Total run time: 59 minutes, 55 seconds
Mile 7: 18:13 (cool down, I got stopped at every. single. light.)
.11: I forgot to stop my watch, so let's just say 2 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (ish)

I was so hot during this run! I came home and chugged some ice water. I will definitely have to adjust when/how much I hydrate with the temperatures getting warmer. Okay, time to tackle that homework!