Friday, October 26, 2012

Boston Marathon 2013

Today, I confirmed my spot on the 2013 Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Team. I'm running on marathon Monday! I've been holding onto this possibility since a week after I ran the Mohawk Hudson Marathon.

I am running in memory of Jennifer Lynne Kennedy, who passed away at the age of 16 on November 15th, 1999. Jennifer was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and was treated at Dana Farber during her illness. The Kennedy family has relayed to me the high quality of care that Jennifer received. I want to raise funds to continue the outstanding research and care offered by Dana Farber.

Not only is this cause important to the Kennedy family, it touches me in a very personal way. My dad was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. He is one of the lucky ones. The cancer was caught at a very early stage and did not spread. He was treated with radiation and is now cancer free.

It's a win-win for me. I get to raise funds for a very important cause and my prize at the end of it all is to run one of the biggest marathons around. The Boston Marathon! What a "once in a life time" opportunity for me. And, I thought I couldn't top the emotional high I felt when I ran the NYC Marathon in 2011. I think Boston is definitely going to top that.

If you would like to make a donation to my cause, you may do so at:

Every dollar counts.

Thank you for your visit

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mohawk Hudson Marathon Recap

Sixteen weeks ago, I began a training program to run my second marathon. Half way through that training, I wrote about how amazing I felt and how great my training was progressing. Within days of reporting on my progress, I came down with tendinitis in my right ankle. Panic and thoughts of the worst possibilities swirled in my head. I knew that I would have to take care of the ankle. Which meant no running. So for two weeks I nursed the ankle.

With six weeks away from the marathon, I had three weeks of heavy training miles and three weeks of tapering. The first three weeks I could have not gotten through with out the help of a very special group of women... SRM, Strong Running Mamas and mostly Mrs. Tamica Kenyon. I can't thank Tami enough for pushing me through some of the toughest training miles.

For the last three weeks of training, I could breath a little easier. This is where tapering began. I got to cut my training miles back a bit and start recovery for the marathon. So, I decided a few months back that I would register for the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon as a training run. Felice, one of the ambassadors to the race and also a SRM, would be running as well. [On a little side note, Felice, whether you know this or not, when I joined your group of SRM, you were my inspiration.] I was thrilled to be running with Felice. Again, this was supposed to be a training run! Not a training race! Right. My inner competitiveness could not be contained. So, I gave it all I had! I came out with a personal best of 1:46:41 and a second place finished in my age group! What a great way to build my confidence for the marathon.

Felice and Me
Finishing with a PR

With two weeks left, I had to recover from the Zooma Half Marathon. So, that meant take it easy! And, I did. I was seasoned and in tune with my body. I have learned how to listen to it. In the mean time, anticipations were building. "I'm going to run my second marathon!!" I'd think to myself.

Without giving it much thought, I decided I would sign up with a pacer on the day of the Expo. The 3:45 pacer! So many thoughts went rushing through me. What was I thinking?! I ran my first marathon in 4:46:13. I felt much faster this year...but over an HOUR faster??? I had so many doubts...

Melissa and I Marathon morning

Marathon morning is here. The weather is perfect for running. My nervous energy and adrenaline are off the charts. They have been since I made the big decision to go with the 3:45 pacer. I literally want to throw up. I need to calm down. But, that won't happen until the race starts.  I tell myself, "you can do this". I anticipate the start. Here we go. And the journey begins.

The pacer, Ludo, is great. He starts off pretty easy and picks up the pace, easing the group into an 8:30 to 8:35 minute/mile pace. Ludo is very engaging with the group. He talks to us the whole time.

Keeping the group on pace. This is great! I'm running an 8:30 min/mi and conversing with a group of people. I am comfortable. I am doing it! I'm on pace and I feel great. My breathing is easy. My legs feel fresh. Omg, I'm really doing this.

3:45 Pace Group

Almost half way through, I pass SRM Melissa Hasan and we give each other a high five. What a boost! It was also nice to see some familiar faces along the way. Like, Melissa's husband and her sweet baby girl, Mia. I remember some of the course from running a 20 miler with Tami. So, I feel very comfortable. We get to the half way point and I'm still with the 3:45 group. The group is still pretty big. About 20 people are running in this group. It was great. Runners were exchanging jokes making the time fly by. What a blast I am having. I'm with a group of about 20 runners. Running a marathon at a 8:35 min/mi pace and I'm half way done with a 26.2 mile race.

I ask myself, "how do you feel?" Breathing, check. Legs, check. No cramping. I'm good. I gel twice by the half way point and I take in some salt and electrolyte caps. I'm still on pace. That's great because here come some of the hardest miles.

We are now almost at 20 miles and I still feel pretty good. We are in familiar territory, Watervliet. Soon we will be back on the bike path. I was told to look down when I got to Watervliet. Aww, how sweet...a little motivation written on the bike path in chalk. It gave me the biggest smile and the drive to keep going. I consumed some more gel. At this point it really doesn't go down very well. I start feeling like I have to throw up. So now I start to plan in my head how am I going to throw up and keep moving? That's right, because there is no way I'm stopping now. I kept the feeling at bay. Now the pacer, Ludo, is breaking the race down one mile at a time. This is going to be the longest six miles of my life. I stay with the group until about mile 24. I see Tami along the way and it puts a smile on my face. I'm two miles away from the finish but my legs are tired now. They feel so heavy. I start to lose pace and the pacer along with the group. I find myself alone. Which is difficult at this point because I want to stop so bad. Now it's time to run with my heart.

I kept repeating it in my head "When your LEGS get tired, RUN with your HEART." "Dig Sheila, and what ever you do DO NOT stop." I knew at this point that I would not hit 3:45 even but I sure as hell was going to try and come in before that clock read 3:46. I near the boat launch and there is my husband and girls. I think I wave but I'm not so sure because as I'm starting to kick it in to the finish, which I can't see but I know is near, and I start to zone out. Now I'm running with my heart! Everything is numb and I keep pushing harder and harder to the finish line. I see it, I see the finish line. One more big dig. At this point everyone and everything is a blur and I push through the finish line. And, into the arms of two EMS personal. They (along with my co-work and boss lady Sgt. Morgan) hold me up and walk me around for a few minutes. My body felt like jello and I almost crumbled to the ground a few time. I was so disoriented. Now I know what it feels like to run with my heart.

Near the finish!

There was a bit of confusion on my part about my time. There were a couple of computers set up nearby under a tent. I gave my bib number to the lady and she plugs it in and it spits out my race time.
3:46:02. Later that night I find out that 3:46:02 was my gun time. My net time was 3:45:45! I did it! And, as I write this the tears start to build up in my eyes because I still can not believe I ran that time. Although, my body is letting me know that I did. I'm still in awe at what my body and heart allowed me to do yesterday.

A finally though,

3:45 was my B plan. My A plan was to run just under 4 hours.

Thank you for letting me share :^)