Archive for the ‘marathon’ Category

did not finish.

Well, that didn’t go as planned.

Let me break down the weekend for you, because after all, this was my first marathon weekend.

Drove up Friday evening with my parents, had a healthy dinner of fish, and rice with corn on the cob. I sure do love camp-fire food! Checked into my room at the Hilton, was in bed before nine and had a wonderful night’s rest until 7:30 the following morning. I never get to sleep in that late!

Saturday morning I got up, ate some oats and raisins, and got ready for a relaxing day. I met my parents at the Farmer’s Market, did a little shopping and found Lindsey, my partner in crime. I had lunch later that afternoon at a delicious crepe place, The Skinny Pancake, and then scoped out the finish line. I wanted to find a place where I’d meet the beau afterward, just in case it was so super crowded (which it always is). We drove to pick up my race bib, get my free (and super cute) t-shirt, and free goodie bag. We took our photo in the booth sponsored by KeyBank. That evening my parents cooked me a foil dinner, my all time favorite camp meal, which was clean and good for fueling me for what was to come. Everything had gone as planned- even that night’s rest.

I surprisingly fell asleep around ten, woke up only once around 1 to make a quick trip to the bathroom and rose again at 5:15 a.m. with my alarm. The nerves officially kicked in. I drank my gatorade and pre-run shake just like I had trained to. Drank more water/gatorade. Packed. Tried to relax. Hit the bathroom like six times. Finally got dressed. And before I knew it, Lindsey and her husband were there and ready to walk to the start.

I found my friends and family fairly quickly (mainly because the beau made shirts and they were all sporting them) and we all posed for pictures. As Lindsey and I were in line one last time to use the porta-potties, we both had this look like, “OMG, what the hell is about to happen?!” But they were good nerves and we were so happy that the weather was cooperative. It was overcast. It wasn’t humid. And there was a slight breeze. Before we knew it, we gave our last hugs and we were squeezing our way into the mass of runners.

It all happened so fast. We didn’t hear the countdown and barely heard the horn; we just felt the crowd walking forward. It took a few minutes to cross the start line as expected and we were off!

The first 1-3 miles are always the hardest for me, having to find my groove. And with the course being slightly uphill and having to dodge thru a crowd, it was taking me a little longer than normal. The crowd was inspiring, the shirts were fun to read and follow, and the downhill sections I used to propel myself forward and gain ground. I passed my family and friends around the third mile and I knew I wouldn’t see them for an hour or so, so I focused on the out-and-back that I knew I was about to experience– if only I knew it would be so boring!

It was an out and back of nothing but highway and marshes! But again, there was no sun and a wonderful breeze… that for some reason, made my situation worse. I was struggling, bad, and around mile five I think I finally said something to Lindsey. “Something isn’t right.” My chest was tight, I was kind of experiencing something in my head that wasn’t dizziness- but confusion as to what was happening… and I was FREEZING! She asked me if I wanted to go to an aide station and I thought, “hell no! It’s mile five! I have at least 18 miles in me before hitting THE wall.” But then it got worse. I told her I’d walk for a minute and we did. This continued for miles, 1 minute walk, 8 minutes run. I was glued to my Garmin, gasping for those eight minutes go fly by so that I could try to straighten my head and thoughts. It was around mile eight that I finally expressed to her, in almost tears, that I knew I couldn’t do this for eighteen more miles; I was fading, and fast.

I ran past my family around mile nine in almost tears because I just wanted to feel normal. I ran down Church Street past the drag queens in cheerleading outfits, past an Irish Band, a fun rock band, and all of a sudden it hit me. It was my heart and it was cold and I had to stop. She and I decided to walk until we found an aid station and I called the beau to give him the news. I didn’t start sobbing until I saw Lindsey run away from me and realized that she’d be crossing the finish line alone.

The medical team got my information and were shocked a) because I had the surgery just a month ago and b) I passed two other aide stations and made it that far. It took them a while to get me hooked up and got an EKG, where my heart was calm and okay to be released. I met the rest of my family and friends that drove out to see me, cried some more, and then got in line to watch Lindsey finish. And she finished strong.

So, where’s my head today? Disappointed. Sad. Angry that this happened Sunday and not during my eighteen mile training run just two weeks ago. As though the last four months of training was wasted. And although I know it wasn’t, it’s still how I feel. The encouraging detail I take from this race is that even though I walked a significant amount, especially during the last few miles, my pace was 10:25. Slower than I trained but with miles of walking. I was hustling it! I was so embarrassed to have to announce this to all of you, but I just keep reminding myself that my health/heart was more important in that moment and still is. I now have to go back to my cardiologist and see what the next step is. In my head, my next step is to find the next marathon. To continue running and staying active.

Just want to say thank you for following my training over the past four months and continuing to come back and read. For all the thumbs up, encouraging comments and messages that you’ve all sent. I don’t know if I could have done it without your accountability. On to the next one.


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Lists and lists and lists are now running through my head. And tonight is my night to get everything together and packed. All my clothes. All my running gear. All my food that I’ll be snacking on to keep myself regulated and not indulging on take-out. Tomorrow morning is going to go by quickly after my usual boxing session and quick shower. And then I’ll be on the road.

I most likely will not be on the internet for the remainder of the weekend (I’m not bringing the computer) but wanted to say these little somethings to the people who have supported me over the last four months. *I did sign up to have the updates automatically posted on Facebook as I work my way through the course. Keep an eye out there for any race details and statistics.

Dear Beau: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank you thank you thank you. I never heard you complain once about my early rising, my long trips in the bathroom, or my complaining about pace, distance or pain. You encouraged me every week, every day, before every run to give it my best. I can see in your eyes that you’re already proud of me. I can’t wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Mom: Within twelve hours of me making my announcement, you had a room booked at the Hilton waiting for me to check in to. I can not believe you rode three plus hours on that bike to carry my water and gatorade and encourage me during my last long run. You made a clapper. You printed out every possible page of reading material off of the official website. You plan on cooking my “last meal” the night before to ensure I won’t get sick by eating out. I can not wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Mikey “the baby-face beast” Faragon: You are not a morning person and yet, you got up two to three times a week to box with me over the last four months. This form of cross training kept me moving, especially after my surgery when I couldn’t run for a while. You listened to me complain. You saw me sweat. A lot. And throw punches like a girl. You reminded me to take a drink when I needed it. Made me hang off of a punching bag for three minutes. And wrapped up my hands each day. I’ll miss the early morning workouts before everyone else is up for their day. But don’t you worry, you’ll be seeing my face at least three times a week in group classes. And I promise, I’ll wash my wraps. And although I won’t see your face at the finish line, I’ll think of you with every hill; up and over.

Dear Green Bandit: You checked in with me every Sunday or Monday to see how training went for the week. Even if it was just by text, you made the effort. You listened to me moan and groan. And now have offered to bandit the race for a few miles to give me that boost that I might need. I haven’t been so good at checking in with you and YOUR big event the following week- I don’t I tell you enough that YOU inspire me. You’ll be driving up at four a.m. on race day; I can’t wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Vito’s Gal: Do you remember the night we were out celebrating your birthday/engagement and you told me you would pay for my entry fee if I designed your wedding invites? And I teared up? I still am thankful for your generosity and encouragement. You too have checked in with me, listened to me rant (mostly at work) and supported me. Even on your honeymoon you wanted updates following my surgery! I’ll be thinking of you at many times throughout the race; thanks to you I’ll be the best dressed gal on the block. I’ve run two races with you throughout training and I can’t wait to sign up for more with you. Healthy friends are the best kind of friends. When I get up to fuel before the race, you’ll be hitting the road to come see me. I can’t wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Bad Influence: I was worried about you and our habit of going out multiple times a week, including BINGO! But I guess things happen for a reason because your engagement couldn’t have come at a better time. You saving for a ring = us not going out and spending it on drinks. I’ll celebrate your birthday when I return. And although you won’t be at the finish line, I’d like to thank you for taking care of kitty while I’m out-of-town.

Dear Bill aka the best dad ever: Thank you for coming. I know you hate crowds, especially in the heat. But guess what– I can’t wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Little Sis-tah: Thank you for running/walking the last two miles with me during my long run and taking me to urgent care and for keeping me company at Walgreens. Oh, and for trying all three flavors of almonds that I purchased that day. Thank you for driving five hours to Burlington; I can’t wait to see your face at the finish line.

Dear Partner In Crime: We trained in different cities with different time goals for this race, our first marathon, but the ultimate goal is crossing that finish line. Your goal was to qualify for Boston, mine to break a certain hour mark (still not sharing in hopes that it will become a reality in the near future). But when I called you, devastated, because I knew I had to implement plan B after my surgery, you too changed your plan. You told me that you’d run the entire race with me, regardless of my time. We’d run, catch up, soak in every minute of those tough 26.2 miles together and cross the finish line hand in hand. Really? You’d do that for me? I truly am one lucky girl. I can’t wait to see your face as we cross the finish line- you better pack that waterproof mascara as well!

Thank you Eloquent Al. Thank you Marla for running almost every long run with me. Thank you KH. Thank you Paula. Thank you Momma P for the manicure. Thank you Rosanna for squeezing me in last-minute. Thank you everyone who asked about my training and told me I’ll do great- because I will. If I missed you, I’m sorry. My brain is mush but that’s okay; I’m trying to fool it into what I’m about to do.

Let’s go!

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With only four days left until the marathon, I’ve already begun creating lists galore to keep me sane. Here’s a look into just a few of my favorite items that have gotten me through training and will carry me through the big day.

My checklist:

  1. Garmin Forerunner 210: I just bought this baby and love it. And it saves the life of my iPhone when I’m out there for 3+ hours.
  2. Lululemon Gear: I’ll be running in the marathon crop and the run swiftly tech short sleeve shirt. Seriously, check out the number of pockets on the capris.
  3. Valor: a roll on essential oil from Young Living that increases my feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem. Call me crazy but I swear it works!
  4. Goodie Elastic Hair Bands: My hair is finally long enough to put back into little pigtails and these little guys keep everything in place for hours. Even when boxing.
  5. Clif Shot Gel: I’m looking forward to the 6, 12 and 18 mile markers so that I can whoof these down. Mocha + caffeine = heaven while running. And they are 90% organic.
  6. Asics Gel-Blur33 for Women: These have kept me blister-free, my toes cool, and my arches supported.

Are you training for any races right now?

You don’t WANT to know what the crazy runner in me is thinking at just days away from my first marathon. But no worries, I’ll most likely share that bit of information next week.

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the last long run.

Dear Mommy: Today was your one day to sit down and relax but instead you came out to ride next to me for three plus hours as I ran. You listened to me moan, groan and curse the “f” word; you’re the best. Really. Dear Weather: Today was gorgeous- a little warm but realistic for race day. I even got a little sun tan. Dear Close Friends and Family: I am officially tapering. This sometimes leads to crankiness, anxiety, and frequent freak-outs. I’m going to try my hardest to do none of the above and just heal.

Warning: it’s going to be a long one.

Two weeks ago I would have never guessed that I’d be sitting here sore after an eighteen mile run. (I’ll explain why eighteen and not twenty in just a second) I even went as far to record a video sharing with you all that I wouldn’t be running the marathon because things got so bad for a few days. Yes, I deleted that video. Let me give you a little running re-cap:

Two Weeks Ago: Set out to run eighteen, had to come to a halt at thirteen because my hip hurt so very bad. I knew this wasn’t a pain that I should try to ignore. Thought to myself, “thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day.”

That following Monday: The pain got increasingly worse. So much so, I had to take the elevator at work, switch my desk chair, wear sneakers all day, and heat pack it around the clock.

For the remainder of that week: I took/applied arnica, stretched, got acupuncture and had a yoga/Thai massage session. I knew I was feeling better but shouldn’t set out for my last long run, so I pushed it forward for a date in the middle of the upcoming week. Well, I forgot I was in training that week for work and officially set the date for Sunday; one week after the scheduled training run and one week into my tapering plan.

This past week: I continued to box and ran a quick four miles on Tuesday. And crossed my fingers that I could go the distance.

This morning: After spending an hour in the bathroom (note to self: do not eat a blooming onion the day before the race), I was on the road and at the bike path to meet my sister and mom for the run. I got there first, so I headed out first thinking that they would catch up because they were on bikes. Nope. After five miles, I turned around hoping they were close behind me. Nope. I didn’t see them until around mile eight (thank goodness), where I guzzled my drink but continued moving. Around mile ten, I decided to stop and stretch because I could feel my right leg start to cramp. Big mistake. I didn’t want to continue forward!

By now, it was about 75 degrees and the path was all sun. I ran for three more miles until my right calf cramped so tight that I had to walk. Walk a half mile, run, walk, run full, walk. Now this is when things get interesting. At mile sixteen, the end was in sight! My sister decided to run the last four with me because by this time my pace had slowed due to the cramp in the calf. But I didn’t care, I was finishing regardless of my time. All of a sudden, I knew something wasn’t right. Did I have to go to the bathroom? I thought so. I hopped into the woods to take care of business (no bathroom or toilet paper around for miles) but nothing would come out. I stood up to continue running, but I couldn’t.

I only had two miles in me and could barely walk. The pain had gotten so bad and my urge to go to the bathroom worsened. Yup, insert personal information about Jona: I was officially experiencing my first UTI. Insert feeling of HELL. Two hours later in urgent care and $6.66 for the antibiotic, I am one thankful chick for physician assistants that work on Sundays. Talk about lucky.

Now that the sharing of personal information is over, back to running. At this point, I am thrilled with where I stand running-wise. No, I’m not running the pace I was pre-surgery. No, my stamina is not to where it was pre-surgery. But that was completely out of my hands and unforeseen. I no longer have pain in my hip (fingers crossed) and have come to terms with what my finish time is looking to be. But the key word in that last sentence is not time, but finish. I will be finishing that race, regardless of how long it takes me. There will always be another marathon.

A ton of people have asked why I still want to run this race if I’m not 100% to where I was a month ago and my answer is: because I want to. I’ve worked too damn hard these past four months to throw in the towel. That might be the crazy runner in me talking but for me this close to race day, PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER.

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bust a move!

Today was filled with a mix of emotions. To be honest, I slept in. I moped. And then I remembered that it was race day for members of my community. With only minutes to spare, I walked to one end of my street to see the runners start. And as I was standing there, I couldn’t help but to cry.

A year ago I PR’d at this race and I was hoping this year to shatter that time. The weather was absolutely perfect and really, a race always puts this contagious energy in the air. I surely felt it and only got more anxious. The crazy last-minute thought that popped in my head: go! Go put your running gear on, lace up and run with your co-workers. But there I stood, alone, at the corner ready to cheer them all on.

And that I did. For the full hour or so, I clapped. I shared words of encouragement. I smiled. I even got to hold the glasses of the second place overall finisher.

I also witnessed something that I’ve never seen at a race: hostility. A neighbor cursed at me, flipped me off and then proceeded to get out of his car and interrogate me. Gosh for bid he sat at the stop sign for two minutes to let the runners pass. Gosh for bid he keep his trap shut because hello, I wasn’t the coordinator for this event. And he wasn’t the only one. I seriously thought a runner was going to be hit by some other fellow who was in such a rush to get to the Farmer’s Market bodega. At one point, someone in the apartment behind me started to mock me and my cheering and started repeating me quite loudly. I only saw it as an added spectator. Thank you randomly annoyed neighbor who helped cheer for at least ten minutes.

No poor-attitude neighbor would leave me sour; instead I left inspired. So much so that I went out and bought myself a new pair of sneakers. I’ve needed a second pair to start rotating for a while now, and no better time than this weekend. I was going to immediately go out and test them but reminded myself not to push it. Tomorrow morning, rain or shine, I’m running my own 5k.

I guess I didn’t know how much I loved this sport until it was taken away. But I guess that’s like most things in life, gotta remember to enjoy it all while we can.

and p.s… this pair of sneakers will carry me across the finish line next month!

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I remember like it was just yesterday the day I announced I had registered for my first marathon. I could barely sleep that night, thinking about the long journey that was ahead of me. But now with eight weeks left, I’m realizing that the finish line isn’t as far away as I had imagined. Here is what I’ve learned the past eight weeks:

  • Get every mile in. Skipping a run will only set me back and I want to be sprinting toward that mile marker that reads: twenty-six point two.
  • Set mini goals. I’ve come to realize that I will not be faster each and every run BUT each run will make me faster in the long run.
  • Be competitive. Train and run local races. With my first 5k yesterday since last summer, it was quickly brought to my attention that I need to commit to speedwork each week in order to PR in next month’s 5k.
  • Get my nutrition under control. This is a huge factor that effects my runs in a big way. From here on out, I’m going to be very conscious of what I’m consuming to better fuel my workouts.
  • Rest. I can’t afford to get sick. With my heart surgery less than two weeks away, I need to train hard now because I don’t know how long I’ll be out after that. Optimistically the 3-5 days as they suggested but everyone recovers at different rates. And hopefully, the procedure works.
  • I have a bigger support group than I ever imagined. Seriously, random people send me motivations online, continue to check in with me either by text or email, or ask me in passing. I try to remain positive when describing my training but I think the biggest shout out goes to the beau. He’s not only heard me bitch and moan, but has put up with my frequent bathroom trips, blisters, stinky sweaty self AND wakes up every morning with me before my run or boxing session. That right there is support. My once trainer now close friend has decided to run the race with me, to be my personal pacer. She is competing in an Ironman just 2 weeks after the marathon… that right there is so much support it brings me to tears just to think how attainable my goal for that day is.
  • Be realistic with my goal. This is my first marathon and my goal is to finish. But every athlete has a number in their head and of course, I’ve got mine. I will not be sharing it with anyone (other than my pacer friend) and will not be dissappointed if it is not met. BUT I will leave everything on the road that day to reassure myself that I gave it all I’ve got.

Those of you who have decided to make the trip out to support me, I send you so much love and gratefulness. You probably won’t be able to tell if I’ve met my goal when you see me cross the finish line; I’ll be in tears either way. This is one of the most important things on my bucket list that I can’t wait to cross off and if I get to share that moment with others, even better.

If you want more details about the weekend and are interested in coming, check out the marathon’s website here. I know a few friends will be staying at the local campground right on the lake (very close to the start/finish lines) and are chipping in to stay at one site to save cash/have more fun. That’s where I’ll be staying the night after the race = celebration time! If you want to run with me at any point during the next eight weeks, at any speed, for any distance, message me and I’ll set up a meeting time with you.

xoxo, zeelemons.

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Dear 5 o’clock in the morning: Just because my body is now waking up before the alarm goes off, doesn’t mean I want to be BFFs. Thank you for letting me sleep in past 6 Saturday and today. Dear Achy Body: I know you are so sore right now, but really, it’ll pay off later. Up and Over! Dear Beau: Each day that I spend with you, I learn something new about you. The other night we played our first practical joke on a dear friend; from now on I’ll note that you are the observer. I’m still glad we all shared that laugh together.

It’s Monday, folks! (my favorite)

I think I’ll start the week with random bits of information. Of course, in true list fashion…

1. I got a couple emails from readers asking me what my training schedule looks like for the marathon. I’m using a schedule made up from my close friend and long time trainer, Marla (who is now officially registered for the race– insert loud squeal!). I can surely scan it in and email it along, but this is what my week looks like:

  • Monday: REST DAY!
  • Tuesday: Either speed work or hills; average of 4-5 miles
  • Wednesday: An hour of boxing, focusing mostly on my core and upper body
  • Thursday: Pace Run (distance varies each week)
  • Friday: An hour of boxing, adding legs into the mix
  • Saturday: From here on out, is a rest day. I may walk, hike or ride, depending on how I feel.
  • Sunday: Long run. Gradually increases until I peak at 20-22 miles, three weeks before the big day.

2. Recognize anyone in last week’s fist pump photo challenge?

3. As of last Thursday, I’m officially hooked on making my own pizza. I learned some valuable information: don’t use barley flour and you must add the sugar! I didn’t have any on hand and thought it would be okay to skip but I later learned that this was the food to the yeast and that’s probably why it didn’t rise. At all. Needless to say, the dough was a little crunchy instead of fluffy but was still so effing good. First attempt’s combo: spinach, fresh mozzarella, and kalamata olives.

so stinkin' good. watch out Bacchus!

4. Over the weekend I posted a photograph of the dessert that I made (quickly) for my dad’s birthday celebration and due to popular demand, here is the recipe:

  • Take an oreo (I used double stuffed because a) they were the same price as the regular and b) who doesn’t love the double stuffed?) and slap a little peanut butter on the top. Plop a second oreo on top, along with another layer of peanut butter. Repeat eleven more times, filling up the cupcake baking pan.
look at those layers.

24 oreos = almost the WHOLE package minus four. I took care of the remaining four, lonely cookies.

  • Scoop brownie mix over the oreo deliciousness evenly and pop it into the oven until the brownie is cooked (12-15 minutes).
my apartment smelled so stinkin’ good!
  • BAM! But watch out! The middle can be so ooey and gooey and hot that it will stick to the roof of your mouth and burn it. It is just the sacrifice we make as warm-dessert lovers.

But I must give credit where credit is due. This was not my recipe and I found the idea on Pinterest (my newest addiction) here. It is not a “clean” recipe, it is cheap and quick, and is something you can enjoy in moderation. I am so not a sweets person and could only have half of the “cupcake” but did have another half yesterday after dinner, with some red wine of course. Everyone else seemed to devour them whole.

5. Does anyone that graduated from Sage have an extra gown that I can borrow for graduation this May? I really really don’t want to spend $70+ on this article of clothing and would prefer to recycle. Hook a lady up (please)!

6. Speaking of borrowing, I let a fellow MBAer (and co-worker) borrow the only textbook I bought for the entire MBA program and this is what she gave me in return:

9 dozen eggs! (I already used up one)

Her little chicks have been supplying me with fresh, local eggs for a few years now. I can’t wait to cash these in!

7. I’m still not completely moved out of my old apartment. Opps. That’s what I have to look forward to; tomorrow that is.

Have a great weekend? Hope you didn’t get blown away on Saturday with all that wind! I’m thankful my long run was yesterday because the sky was blue and not a cloud was in sight. I’m enjoying my rest day so far and can’t wait to get home this evening to wash the dishes. Just kidding!

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