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Posts Tagged ‘Moms Running’

Last June a few of us in our moms running group had this crazy idea that if we signed up for a half marathon in September it would force us to keep up our running during the hot, humid, stinky and generally disgusting (for running) days of a NYC summer. It sounded really good in theory. In reality it was nearly impossible to co-ordinate everyone’s schedules between camp drop off, vacations, appointments and of course those wonderful, lovable, demanding children 😉

I was getting some miles in and then BAM! Just like that, I became sidelined with my first “crap, I have to stop” running injury- the dreaded plantar fasciitis. For those of you who have ever suffered from this injury you know that it really friggin’ hurts and the worst part is that it takes an incredibly long time to heal. You need to be able to rest your foot. Um, hello, it is very hard to rest your feet when you live in Manhattan!! Okay, enough whining. Basically, all summer I wasn’t able to run and instead I cycled and worked out with my kick ass trainer, the ex-marine. I was very lucky to still be able to do this but, I missed running. Wow, who am I??! Did I really just write that? Yep. I missed the running.

Flash forward to this past weekend. It was now the weekend of the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. And my foot was feeling good, finally. I was actually walking pain free for the first time in about two months. Our weekend 1/2 marathon running group had dwindled down to a group of four. Unfortunately others had injuries and illness as well. Jess and I had a non-refundable hotel room and a “let’s go anyway” attitude. However, I was under very strict instructions from my hubby and a few other smarter than me people to not run the entire race. I grumbled and agreed that running the full race would be stupid and I would stop 1/2 way at the Rocky steps. Certain peeps were not convinced that I would wisely stop, apparently sometimes I act stupidly. Huh…I prefer stubborn.

On Saturday morning Jessica and I jumped into her jeep and after an adventurous ride to Philly that included a loooong time to get off the Island (why were all the roads closed??) and then a gas stop in an extremely sketchy area of New Jersey (think Law & Order body dump) we arrived in downtown Philadelphia. This was my first time in Philly. It is a very beautiful city. We met Rachel at the Expo, picked up race kits and perused merchandise. Next stop, after the crazy road trip was beer and dinner. It was an early evening as we would meet at 6:30 the next day to head to the race start.

I absolutely love the energy of the pre-race excitement. Thousands of people gathered, barely awake, waiting in line for the porta-potties, stretching, bouncing, nervous, anxious, chatting, all headed towards one common goal, the finish line.

Jess and I said good-bye to Rachel and Toby. Wishing Rachel an awesome race, the only rockstar who was actually going to run the full 1/2 marathon and headed to our corral. It was an absolutely perfect morning for a run- not too hot, bright skies, no humidity. The course is very flat and the first part takes you right through the heart of the city. Jessica was true to her word (and an excellent wingman) as was I, doubters 🙂 and we stopped the race right at the Rocky statue. It was hard to stop but it was the right thing to do, the little twinge in my left foot reminding me that I am not yet 100%. There will always be other races.

Jess and I spent the rest of the day relaxing, seeing some sites and enjoying some good food and drink. A perfect little escape.

In the end it was a beautiful morning for a run in a different city with hundreds of other people pounding the pavement too. And coach Rachel, congrats to you, our faithful coach who always brings her amazingness to each and every run. You are an inspiration. Congrats on your FULL half!

As for me, back to playing with my balls (MELT method), icing, stretching and best of all running with the moms I adore. Here’s to our next running adventure when we are all well trained, healthy and happy!!!

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Today on our run in Central Park, we were on my favorite FLAT stretch on the east side of the park when our group noticed the beautiful flowers in bloom lining our route. Apparently this is a stretch from East 85th to 96th street that has been revitalized by the Central Park Conservancy and named Rhododendron Mile. The flowers have been planted and the full effect of the project in spectacular glory will be seen in Spring 2013. I think even this year, it already adds beautiful color to an already pretty amazing park. So now on those gruelling morning runs I will not only look forward to this stretch for it’s wonderful flatness but also for the added bonus of the incredible breathtaking beauty of nature. Hope you are enjoying your Wednesday, S =)

A little peek at the beauty lining the East side.

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If you had told me six months ago that I would have successfully finished the NYC 1/2 Marathon, I would have told you that you were talking crazy talk. But here I am a week after the race, still in a bit of a post race glow. I ran a half marathon, yes I did. I ran a 1/2 Marathon in 2 hrs. 13 mins, yes I did.

Four months ago a bunch of friends sat down at breakfast and one of them suggested that we start training to run a half. We all bravely agreed that this sounded like a great idea and we convinced ourselves we were going to do it. I am sure a couple of people, myself included, left thinking “Ya, that’s never going to happen!” And then a funny thing happened, we started a little running club. This fabulous group of moms started meeting three days a week after drop off and ran in Central Park. We encouraged and inspired each other and week by week the miles started to build. We were doing it!! So, our group of ladies decided that we would all put our names in for the NYC 1/2 lottery and whoever got in would run and the rest would sign up for the More 1/2 in April. We would all have a 1/2 marathon race goal. Two days after Christmas I received an email that I was IN, I had a spot in the NYC 1/2. I have to admit, I felt equal parts dread and excitement. I was in, there was no turning back now, the training started for real.

To say I was nervous in the days leading up to the race would be an understatement. Just ask my poor husband and my visiting friend Matti. I obsessed about the course, my abilities, hydration, what I was going to wear, etc. I am sure that they were sick of listening to me. The night before the 1/2, I laid out all of the things I would need in the morning and then I went to bed relatively early, hoping to get in a few hours of sleep before my nervous energy and terror of sleeping through the alarm (which has NEVER happened) would have me waking up hourly checking the clock.

All Ready To Go!

Of course I woke up before my alarm and started getting ready at 5:15. As I was dressing by the light of my bedside lamp, I looked up and caught Ron’s eye. I let out a nervous giggle and said to him “Look at me, I am getting up a the crack of dawn on a Sunday to go and run 13.1 miles, who the hell am I ??!!” He told me how proud he was of me and that meant everything. I gobbled down a bowl of cereal, went to the bathroom at least three times, laced up my shoes and then headed out the door to meet Jessica and Rachel at 77th and Central Park West. It was still pitch dark out. Again, I questioned my sanity. I expertly dodged the vomit (St. Patty’s Day remnants) as well as a few drunken revellers on their way home and made my way to the park.

My view as I exited my apartment building. Crazy.

I met up with Jess and Rachel and then we headed to our corral. Before we took our spots we all stopped for a quick pee and of course, I had to go again while we were waiting in the corral. Being a nervous pee(er)- is that a word??- really does suck. At the corral line ups we parted ways with Rachel *insert hugs and tons of words of encouragement and inspiration* (she was in a different color group) and then we lined up in our own corral.

Jessica is NOT a morning person 😉

The sky beginning to brighten above our corral sign.

I think waiting in the corral is one of the hardest parts of the race. There is tons of nervous energy and bouncing around as people try to stay warm and calm. But in the end it is just a whole lot of waiting and more waiting. At this point my body just wanted to GO! The race started at 7:30 but our corral made it to the start line at 8:01! Yep, there was a whole lot of waiting. We were lapped before we even started. Seriously. 25 minutes after the race started while we were still edging closer to the start the elite athletes started whizzing by us, already completing a FULL loop of Central Park. Unbelievable. On the downside, we hadn’t even started to race yet, on the plus side, getting to see these runners in action is truly awe inspiring. They are beautiful.

At 8:01 we finally started and I have to tell you that it was an incredible experience right from the beginning. There really is something to be said about going for a run with thousands of other people. Their energy rubs off on you and even though running can sometimes seem like it is a solitary sport, not so in a road race where there is always someone beside you, trying to achieve the same goal, one foot after the other… The course started with one loop around Central Park. After training for months in this beautiful space, I really feel like I know the park intimately. I know each and every dip and curve. It is a great feeling running on your own turf. Jessica and I kept our training pace and ran smoothly towards the Harlem Hill. Oh Harlem Hill, how we love to hate you. We hit Harlem Hill with confidence and huffed and puffed to the top. A big THANK YOU and lots of LOVE to one of our running gals Babette who was standing at the perfect spot to cheer us on and encourage us to make to the top, it was exactly the encouragement we needed. After the Harlem Hill, there  were the four little up and down hills and then we were home free, down hill as we exited the park. I was excited to get out of the park. I couldn’t wait to head down 7th Ave and through Times Square. Running through Times Square is exhilarating and you really can’t help but be awe-struck by all of the buildings and flashing lights. Also, there is no other time when you will have that much pavement to yourself or the freedom to move. It was spectacular! I think I had a goofy grin on my face all the way to the West Side Highway.

Entering Times Square!!

One of the great things about running this race was running it with Jessica by my side. Her past race experience helped us to navigate the crowds, stay hydrated “Sandra, you need to keep drinking” and just having her running with me gave me additional strength to keep going. The West Side Highway is one loooong flat stretch. At around mile 10 I started to feel “it”, I was getting a little tired and there seemed to be no end in sight. At that point I remembered what Matti had told me, I could do this because I was Sandra Fucking Guirguis. Oh ya, that’s right and I picked up my pace a bit. By mile 11, I told myself, I got this. By mile 12 I couldn’t believe that I was almost there. 12 miles was the longest distance I had ever run. 13.1 was in my reach. At the tip of the island just past Battery Park we ran through a tunnel, at first it was a bit unnerving but then runners started cheering and the echo in the tunnel carried their voices and it was the last little push I needed. As I made my way to the finish line I was in a bit of a daze. This was it. 13.1 miles. My first ever half marathon. I did it!! At the finish it is a bit surreal, the crowd is cheering, people are congratulating you and moving you along, pictures are taken… I savoured each and every moment!! We met up with Ron, Matti and the girls and I was very proud to be able to share this time with them. I definitely couldn’t have done it without Ron’s support. He is my biggest cheerleader 😉

We did it!! Woohoo!!!

The rest of the day, I spent a lot of time on the couch and it took a few days before the stairs didn’t make every little muscle in my legs do a little “ouch”, but I am ridiculously happy to have accomplished this. I could not and would not have wanted to do it without my moms running group that inspires me daily. Our friendships have grown deeper as we have pounded the pavement through laughter, tears, vomit ;), heart to hearts, various weather and the occasional near miss with a bicycle. I love you all dearly. Thank you Coach Rachel, Jessica, Rena, Babette, Meilan, Deb, Robin, Jen, Nell, Lisa and Bien. I am looking forward to see where our next running adventure takes us!

But right now, I think I am going to go and put my feet up.. And please, don’t even ask me about a FULL marathon… I guess I should never say NEVER!

Anyone seen my personal masseuse?

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