Monday, December 9, 2013

My running year in review

My running year began with the Boston Marathon in April. I was so proud to be participating in the 117th running of the oldest marathon. What was suppose to be one of the happies and proudest  days in my life, turned into tragedy for so many. I was and forever will be greatful to have been spared from the physical scars of that day. The events of this one day has forever change security measures for all major races. I drew some of my strength from that single day and continued to lace up the rest of the year.


Boston 

My second race took me back to Boston to run the Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon. It was a very emotional return to Boston for me. I took all of those feelings from the events that occurred at the Boston Marathon and left them on the pavement. I earned a new PR (1:45:49) and a 3rd place finish in the female law enforcement category.




Run to Remember


In July, I ran the very hot Boilermaker 15k. The Boilermaker is always hot and humid or just plain HOT! The weather slowed me down this year during the race. I finished in 1:22:47. Not my best but I finished and that's what counts most times.

My next big race was the Adirondack Marathon in September. I had about 6 weeks to prepare for this race. But, I felt great. I felt as if I had a solid base built up. The one thing that concerned me and always has, was the tendonitis in my right ankle. Without any warning, it would creep up on me and sideline me from running during training. So during my preparation for the marathon, I decided to adopt a paleo lifestyle of eating. My hopes were to gain some control over the inflammation in my right ankle. After 30 days of eating no grains, dairy, or sugar, my systemic inflammation was down. Hence, the tendonitis in my right ankle has been gone to date. 



2nd marathon of the Year


The Adirondack Marathon was one of the most challenging marathons I had ever ran. My garmin registered the total elevation at 1,347ft. The hills were so steep, I felt as if I were running backwards at times. But, I got it done and finished in 4:19:21. This was my second of three marathons for the year.

Next, we move on to the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon in October. I was look for a new half marathon PR. Unfortunately, something didn't feel right in the two weeks prior to the race. My right knee was achey. During the race I felt the ache in my knee grow. But, I was in it to the finish. So, finish, I did. I didn't get a PR but still came in under 2 hours.



MHH


With 6 weeks left until the Philadelphia Marathon. I rehabbed myself from IT Band Syndrome. At the high end, I ran a 12 miler. I also decided to throw in a few more races before philly. I ran the stockade athon 15k and a Veteran's Day 5k. Hey, I figure if a week before the
Philly marathon I couldn't run a 9.3 and 3.1 mile race, there was no way in hell I would make it to philly. I ran those races slow and with very little pain. 

 I made it to the Philadelphia Marathon! The race had the options for marathoners to call it quits at the half way point. Hell no that wasn't an option for me. I went to philly to run a marathon not a half. I made it to the 18 mile marker before I lost pace. I fought to the finish and got it done. I completed my 3rd marathon of the year and my 5th overall. 




For the love of Running


Finally, I finish my running year with the Troy Turkey Trot 10k and 5k. This was my very first 10k. So, I had an automatic PR of 51:55. I raced the 10k and used the 5k as a cool down. 

My running year was such a roller coaster. Full of tears of joy and sorrow. I ran my second world majors marathon. I saw history unfold. History, which has changed so many things for so many people. It's made me more passionate about my run. I run because I can and won't let anyone or anything take that ability from me. I LOVE TO RUN!
 I can't say it enough... How greatful I am for the ability to put one foot in front of the other. To my husband, family, friends, and supporters, THANK YOU! You have all made my 2013 running journey very special. 

And, THANK YOU for taking the time to read.

Sheila  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Post Philadelphia Marathon

Before I recap the Philly marathon, let me take you back to six weeks ago, when I ran the the Mohawk Hudson Half. I wanted so badly to get a new PR at the MHH. But during the two weeks prior, my right knee was achey. I knew that my hopes for a PR at MH were not going to happen. I also knew that I was going to give it my all and that the ache I felt in my right knee would probably turn into an injury. Sure enough, as soon as I crossed the finish line at the MH half, my knee was throbbing. For two days after the half, it hurt to walk. All I kept thinking about was how to recover from what ever this was, so that I could make it to the start of the Philadelphia Marathon. Silly, isn't it?

After two days, the ache was totally gone. I did a little research and discovered that I most likely had IT Band Syndrome. The ITBS didn't happen from a lack of stretching or foam rolling. I was just over-trained. Since December 25th, 2012, I had been training for races. First, it was the Boston Marathon in April. Then, Boston's Run to Remember half-marathon in May. The Boilermaker 15k in July, Adirondack Marathon in September, Mohawk Hudson Half  in October, and finally the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I took very little time in between to recover from each race.
Pump fist to the finish of MHH
                                                                           
So with six weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon, I did EVERYTHING imaginable to get my ass to the start of the Philly marathon. I took three weeks off from running. It was a tough time. How could I squat and lunge and feel no pain but not run? WTF?! After three weeks of no running, and with a little assistance from a compression strap, I was able to run 12 miles for a long run.  While I was recovering, I decided to sign up for the Stockade athon 15k.

 I ran the Stockade athon without any issues. The day after the Stockade athon, I ran a 5k with the kids from the PAL Running Club that I had trained for six weeks. I felt good, and this was a great thing. I knew then that I would make it to the start of the Philadelphia Marathon.

PAL Running Club
I traveled down to Philadelphia with my husband and girls. Early Saturday afternoon, I headed out to the expo to pick up my bib. I was excited and nervous. I knew I'd toe the starting line and that I had at least a half marathon in me. But could I run another 13.1 miles? Hell yeah! I was going to do everything I could to complete the 26.2 miles. After exploring the expo, my family and I did a bit of site seeing. It was a warm Saturday and perfect for taking in some of Philly's history.




Washington Square
             
The view from the famous Rocky steps

My watch alarm was set for 4am, but I awoke at 2:30am and could not fall back to sleep. I got out of bed at 3:30am and did my morning ritual before any big race. I left the hotel room at 5am and met up with Rachel and three of her (and my new) running friends. Running creates a special bond between runners. The early morning air was warm. This would be an awesome day.


Me, Rachel, Stacey, Brandi, and Rebecca


We made our way to the starting line. On the way, I was happy to shake a police officer's hand and thank him for his service. There were 30,000 runners waiting to start their race.

The run started at 7am, but I didn't cross for another 20 minutes or so. The crowds were dense in the first few miles of the race. I was running with Rebecca. We ran in the middle of the road because it made me more comfortable since Boston. As the miles passed, I became more and more comfortable.

Rebecca and I chatted away for 18 miles. This was about the time that I started to fade. Not because of lack of fuel or knee pain. My left hamstring and gluteus muscles started to get tight. So my strides started to get shorter. I could no longer keep pace. I told Rebecca I was fading and that she should keep forging ahead. It was time to dig deep and fight.

From the start of the race, I walked through the water stations. This was most welcomed at this point in the race. The spectators were awesome. Everybody was cheering for me. My name on the front of my bib was the best thing ever. To hear a random stranger cheer me on and tell me to keep going and that I could do this was just what I needed to keep fighting forward. I was so relieved to see the 20 mile marker.

With 6.2 miles to go I knew I would make it. I chipped away at the 6.2 miles, one mile at a time. By the time I reached the 26 mile marker, the crowds were very dense once again. A flood of emotions ran through my body. I stayed focused and concentrated on my breathing. I ran as fast as I could and finished my journey. I did it! I made it to the start and finish of the Philadelphia Marathon. I wasn't 100% healthy and didn't put in the proper training for this race. All I had was 100% passion for the run.  It gave me the determination to start and complete 26.2 miles. Now it's time for a long rest.


The Bling





P.S. My knee held up through the entire race.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ,

Sheila

Friday, October 4, 2013

Post Adirondack Marathon

Running the Adirondack Marathon was a perfect way to start the fall season. The weather was ideal. It was in the low 60's, the sun made an appearance and the rain held off. This was my second of three marathons this year and my fourth overall. I'm beginning to feel confident at the distance. I hung out at the starting line with a very inspirational person, Mary Signorelli. The Adirondack Marathon was Mary's 77th marathon! So, it was great to chat with her about everything marathon-related. It was also nice to see Ludo, the pace setter that guided me to my PR performance at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon last year.

                                                 
Mary and Me



Every 26.2 is created differently. You have to respect that kind of milage or it will chew you up, spit you out and leave you on the side of the road. I knew this would be a tough course. The hills that I encountered during the first half of the course made the hills of the Boston Marathon look flat in comparison. From mile 4 to mile 12, I ran up the steepest hills ever! At times, I felt as if I was pulling a sled with weights behind me. Other times, I felt as if i was running in place.  But, I put one foot in front of the other and refused to walk up the hills. Sometimes my pace would slow down, but I did not stop. The hills didn't matter. My surroundings were peaceful and beautiful. I took it all in.

I reached the half-way point in 2 hours and 24 seconds. It was then that I fueled on a Lara Bar. I did not fuel after that. If I could have held my pace, I would have finished between 4hrs- 4:15. The course went down hill and leveled for four miles before it turned up onto route 9. Finally, a bit of relief from the hills. But, I knew once I turned north onto Route 9, I had rolling hills to contend with. And so the fight began. The fight between my body and my mind. I remember at mile 16 my Garmin read 2:28 and at mile 20 I was at 3:08. My hips were sore. The rolling hills were adding to the punishment I already had experienced in the first 13.1 miles. As I completed mile 24, I walked through the water station. I knew it would take a lot of inner-strength to start running again. As I cleared the water station, I began to run again. Every step I took was just pure pain, but I refused to walk to and through the finish line. I stopped three additional times between miles 24 and 25. With just 1.2 miles to go, I sucked it up. Every painful step got me closer and closer to the finish. I heard the drums and then I saw them. I was almost there. I saw the 26 mile marker. I took a right turn onto Leland. Then I could see the finish line. With .2 miles left, I stretched my legs and went into a full sprint toward the finish line. DONE! My fourth marathon was in the history books. Completed in 4:19:21.

Boy, that was tough! Total elevation was 1347ft! The hills in the first half were brutal. But, I am proud of myself for running this marathon. If I can finish a hilly course such as this one, well then I can finish any marathon.  Some of my fastest miles were in the first half. I'm still having a little trouble with pacing myself. Learning to pace is a work in progress. I'll get better at it, but it will take time and practice. Next stop will be the Mohawk Hudson Half in October and The Philly Marathon in November.


The Bling

Thank you for stopping by,

Sheila


Saturday, August 17, 2013

My whole30 experience

I did it! On August 15th, I completed 30 days on the whole30 program. Whole30 is a strict paleo lifestyle. I hate calling it a diet. I began by reading the book "It Starts with Food" by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. Then I cleaned out the cabinets and fridge of most of the junk foods I ate. I didn't get rid of everything because I was/am the only person in the house going strict paleo. Strict paleo consist of no grains, dairy, and added sugar. Not even pure forms of sugar, such as honey and maple syrup. The only things I consumed for 30 days were lean meats, fish, vegetables, healthy fats, a bit of fruit, some nuts and dry fruit, occasionally. I kept my eating simple and clean.

I decided to give the whole30 program a try because I was having stomach issues. Mainly bloating, cramps and pain. After reading the book, I thought... "maybe this way of eating will help my systemic inflammation, too." Hence, I could maybe gain some control over the tendonitis and pain in my right ankle. Any other benefits from committing to and completing the whole30 program would be a bonus.

The first thing I noticed after just 3 days on the whole30 program was that the bloating in my stomach was gone. My gut was feeling pretty good. And no more cramps or pain. Second, the pain from the tendonitis and calcium deposits in my right ankle/heel area were subsiding. YES! Finally, I felt like the food I was eating was starting to make me feel better.

So after 30 days on the program, I feel Fabulous! I wake up every morning energized. Ready to start my day with a hearty breakfast and then a run or a workout. Did I mention that I gave up coffee? Yup, I have not had coffee for 30 days. I gave up coffee because I gave up sugar and I realized that I didn't need it to wake me up. My gut feels healthy. I have no pain in my ankle or heel. I can actually run back to back days and feel no pain.  My recovery time after my long runs on the weekend is short. Basically, after 24 hours, I am ready for a hard hill or speed interval workout. I ran two 16-milers and one 20 miler without fueling during the runs. My body is slowly learning how to burn fat for fuel. Still, I listen to my body and if it needs fuel, I do bring it and have it available. My runs have not suffered from not eating grains. I get enough carbs from vegetables and fruits.

I am so happy that I stuck with the whole30 program and it gave me the results I was looking for. As a bonus, my skin is more clear. And, I lost three pounds. I know three pounds doesn't seem like a lot but it's three pounds more than I've lost in about a year. I will take losing three pounds of FAT in four weeks versus losing five pounds of water weight in a week. My waist is smaller and my abs look tighter. My legs look leaner. I can actually start to see the shape of my quads and hamstring muscles.

After 30 days, I will continue to follow the whole30 program with an occasional cheat day. But I won't stray too far because not having stomach issues and pain in my ankle are far more important than eating junk food. Funny thing is I don't miss one specific food or foods. I do miss chewing gum the most. One of the many things that I love about this lifestyle is that I don't have to count calories. When I'm hungry, I eat until I'm satisfied. I'm absolutely hooked and love it. I am hopeful that this way of eating will continue to have a positive affect on my body.

Please feel to message me with any questions. I would love to help you change your life. But first, I have to recommend you read "It Starts with Food" by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.

Thank you for stopping by,

Sheila

Monday, July 22, 2013

Post Boilermaker 15k

As always, it was a hot Boilermaker 15k race. July 14th was a hot and humid day as I set out on a 9.1 mile run to the finish line... and to the cold BEER that awaited me! I didn't set any new PR's. I actually ran a bit slower this year. The hot and humid weather beat me up that day. I felt as if my insides were on fire the whole entire race. I was pretty hydrated, but it just didn't help my performance. So I took in the fanfare. I finished the race in 1:22:47 and that's what counted, that I finished. Sometimes I have to forget about time and PR's and just finish.

In the week after the Boilermaker 15k, I felt pretty good. I wasn't sore from the race. I took Monday off. On Tuesday, I got back on track with my running. I ran an easy 5 miles on the indoor track. But, my right heel once again was bothering me. By Wednesday, the tendonitis in my right heel made me very uncomfortable. So, I cross trained on Wednesday and Thursday. I took Friday and Saturday off. I knew that if I wanted to run a Sunday long run, rest and letting my tendonitis subside was important. I have three big races on my schedule this year. I will be running the Adirondack Marathon in September, the Mohawk Hudson 1/2 marathon in October, and the Philly Marathon in November. It's very important to work around my tendonitis and not let it get in the way of my running. 

My Sunday long run lasted 2hrs... or 12.56 miles. My tendonitis...what tendonitis?! I felt great. I took my time and enjoyed all of the sounds of nature. I ran into a few Strong Running Mamas not once but twice. I ran by a couple of deer, saw some cows and hit some BIG hills on the way. And, might I add, the apples are coming in pretty nicely at the orchard. What can I say... I love my country runs.
Hill on Brookview Sta




The cows on Brookview Rd


The hill on Brookview Rd









As far as my tendonitis is concerned, I have gone on a "no grain" way of eating. I don't like to call it a diet. It's a life style change. My hopes are that all of my internal inflammation will subside. Hence, goodbye tendonitis. I will try anything before surgery. No, I am not crazy for going on a Paleo way of eating with all the long distances I run. As a matter of fact I felt great during my long run on Sunday. My body is doing what it's supposed to be doing - using its fat reserves for energy.



Thank you for stopping by,

Sheila

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post Boston's Run to Remember

Amy and me
On Saturday, May 25th, I went back to Boston to run the "Boston's Run to Remember" half marathon held on Sunday morning, along with my friend Amy. This half marathon was special. It was a tribute to fallen officers. When Amy and I arrived, we went to the expo to pick up our bibs and met up with seven of our fellow officers. We all went to Boston to run the race as the Albany, NY Police Running Club.

Albany PD running club
After the expo, we jumped on the subway and headed out to Boylston Street. I had not been on Boylston St. since April 15th. Walking down the same path I took on that day sent chills up my spine, but I was ok. It was good to see so many people walking up and down the street. The same street that had been terrorized on marathon Monday was full of life.

We made our way past the finish line to the memorial. While at the memorial, I left the sneakers I wore on April 15th...this is were they belong. I got teary-eyed, but my friend Amy was there to lean on. She was my rock that day.

My sneakers at the memorial
Sunday morning - my watch alarm went off at 4:50 am. It's race morning! This was the second race of the year for me and the first one since the Boston Marathon. Boy, was I nervous! It was my third time running this half marathon so I had set some goals.

First, I wanted to set a new personal record. Second, I wanted to place in the top three for the female law enforcement category. No pressure.



 As part of a law enforcement team, we got to start at the front of the pack. What a treat! The gun went off at 7am and we were off. Aside from the goals that I wanted to accomplish on Sunday, I decided that I would just run as hard as I could, and push myself as much as my body could stand. My garmin did not pick up a signal, so I just ran by feel.

My first mile was a 7:35 min mile. I told myself "that's to fast." I past the second mile mark at 15:15. This is where one of my fellow officers, Sgt. Rick Romand, caught up to me. From that point on, we would stick together and finish the race.

We past the 5k mark at 23:20. We began to pace ourselves at a 7:30 - 8:00 minute mile. We hit five miles at about 39:40. The next time clock I remembered seeing was at seven miles and the time on that was 57:45. Damn! We reached nine miles in just over 1:12. I thought, "Holy shit, I better PR at the Boilermaker 15k this year." From that point on, I don't remember seeing any other time clocks until I reach the finish.

After ten miles, I was just keeping pace with my partner and giving it everything I had. My breathing became grunting. I would not give in. With two miles to go, we may have slowed down some, but Rick and I kept charging. He kept saying to me "run boston strong!" Great motivational speech!

As we approached the finish line, I went into a full sprint. I could see the clock and I knew I would get my new personal record. Done in 1:45:49! 8:05 min/mile average.

Sprinting to the finish
I got my new personal record and a second place finish in the female law enforcement category. I accomplished both my goals. I was and still am so super happy. I utilized all the sadness and anger I have felt since the Boston bombings and left it on the pavement. I WILL KEEP RUNNING! I won't let anyone take that away from me. And, I am so proud of the men and women that are my second family; my Albany PD family. We all ran Boston Strong.

Love my finisher medal

2nd place female law enforcement award


                Thank you for stopping by,

                                Sheila

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One Month After The Boston Marathon

It has been a month since the horrible bombings at the Boston Marathon... and I have so many mixed emotions. My eyes still tear up when I think and talk about it. I've been asked about it so many times. Sharing my experience has helped me get through this; one of the toughest times of my life. I have stayed glued to the television, watching every update and commentary. I had a headache every day for a week until they had captured those responsible.

Sometimes, I have a hard time falling asleep. The instant replay of the explosions fill my mind. In time, I know I will think less and less of the bombings, but I will NEVER forget April 15, 2013.




A week after the bombings, I went back to Boston. I went back to claim the baggage that I had left behind at the finish line. When I arrived at 40 Trinity Pl, the Boston Athletic Association headquarters, I didn't expect to cross a make-shift finish line. A volunteer checked my bib and ID. While she recorded my information, another volunteer retrieved my baggage. A third volunteer then placed a medal around my neck and then they all clapped and said congratulations!

The tears just started pouring down my face. The B.A.A. has been nothing but amazing during this time. They had professionals on staff for whomever needed to talk. One of the volunteers introduced herself as "the official hugger" as she squeezed me tight. She sat me down until I could calm down and we talked about race day. Shortly after I wiped the tears and made the journey back home. There is something about having that medal that is special but I still feel like I didn't earn it because I didn't cross that finish line. I know, many of you will say that I did earn it, but I just feel differently.

                                                                                       
B.A.A. headquarter 


Following the marathon, I took a week off from running. My body and mind where pretty beat up. But the clouds lifted a bit and I got back out on the road. Running just makes everything better for me. It's my high. My therapy.

I met an inspirational woman by the name of Mary Signorelli, who has ran 72 marathons. We chatted for a while about Boston and before she took off she said to me "just keep running." Although, I have continued to run, I have not raced since Boston. Instead, I was on bike patrol for the Workforce Challenge race. I felt responsible for all 9,000 runners that day. To see so many runners come out for this race brought on the emotions all over again.

On the same day of the Workforce Challenge race, the B.A.A. sent me an email with an invitation to run the 2014 Boston Marathon. Absolutely nothing could ruin the joy that I felt knowing that next year I would get the opportunity to run down Boylston St and across the Boston Marathon finish line.


Bike patrol at the race




It also brought me joy to see both of my daughters, Gabriella and Brooke, race the Rensselaer Rotary Run. Gabby ran the 1 mile race and Brooke ran the one-lap wonder. Despite the rain, we all had a great time. Matt and I are so very proud of them because despite walking a little, they both did not give up and finished their race.
Gabby and me
            
Our family
                                                                 

   

Brooke, the one-lap wonder kid

One week from today, I will head back to Boston for the Boston's Run to Remember half-marathon. I'm race ready! I am happy to be racing again, but I know my emotions will be running high. I will use them to my benefit. Let them fuel my run during the race. 

In my heart, I will never forget the loss of life and the many injured. THANK YOU to the first responders for your courage during the events that unfolded on what should have been a proud day for so many. And, finally, THANK YOU to my husband,  family, friends, and co-works for your continued support.





Love Sheila


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston Recap: From Tears of Joy to Tears of Sorrow

On April 15, 2013 my watch alarm woke me at 4am. I didn't sleep well; I never do the night before a marathon. And, especially, not this one. The 117th running of the Boston Marathon was special to me. I ran as part of the 2013 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team (DFMC). To date, I raised $10,820.00 for cancer research and care. Wow! I can't believe I did that! I met my goal of $10,000, and surpassed it.

Marathon Monday was my day. I was running the oldest marathon in the world! A marathon full of rich history and amazing fan fare. A marathon in memory of a special angel, Jennifer Lynne Kennedy. My reward in the end would be two-fold: 1. knowing that I made a difference in the lives of so many people fighting cancer. 2. crossing the finish line to the Boston Marathon and earning that special bling...

Dean Kennedy did me the honor of waking up to drive me back to the Copely Marriott where I met up with the rest of the DFMC team members. Immediately, I found myself in a conversation with a girl named "Staz"(Anastasia) originally from California, but attending college in Conn. Her family lives in France. She is running in memory of her grandmother and so many others. We walked together to where we loaded up on the bus to the starting line. As we were waiting in line to board the bus, we met Kandace. Kandace is also from California and she was running for herself. She is a breast cancer survivor. 

The ride to the start was about one hour long. We arrived to the start and made our way to the designated area for the DFMC team. This is were we met Sara. She's from MA and was running as part of the partner program for DFMC. She was running for a little boy currently fight cancer. So the four of us pal-ed around.

Sara, Kandace, me, and Staz

At 9:15am, the team made their way to the front of the church for a group photo. The marathon began at 9:30am and I was ready to get the show on the road. 

At 10:30am, the second wave of runners took off. This was about the time we charity runners made our way to the corral. As we waited in the corral, I discovered that Kandace and I had very similar goals for the marathon. And then we decided to ditch those goals and just have fun and enjoy the race! 

At exactly 10:40am, our journey from Hopkinton to Boston began. Kandace and I decided to try and stick together for the duration of the race. The race crowd was very thick. We did a lot of zig-zagging to get around slower runners. The first mile came quick and at about .2 miles into the 2nd mile, I lost my bottle full of EFS gel. Great. I lost 10oz of FUEL. I knew it would be ok, though. Along the way, fans had slices of oranges, jelly beans, pretzels, ice... you name it, the fans had it. THANK YOU FANS AND SUPPORTERS! 

At about 2 miles, I lost another bottle full of water with EFS. Awesome. So, I physically held onto the third bottle for a while. Then ditched it and decided to go with the Gatorade and water along the course. I alternated between water and Gatorade every other mile. I felt pretty good. I was taking in the fans and enjoy the marathon with a new found friend.

Kandace and I looked out for each other along the way. But, I could tell she was struggling a bit. She had a long sleeve shirt under her singlet. It was too warm for a long sleeve that day. So I showed her a little trick I did during the Boilermaker 15k. I grabbed a bag of ice offered by a fan and told her "stick a couple of ice cubes down your bra." It feels great. I lost Kandace at about the halfway point, which is where I entered "the screaming tunnel." The Wellesley College girls are off the charts with their cheering!! Big time boost.

At about mile 20, I was on my way up heartbreak hill. Heartbreak hill is a series of three hills. I got up the first hill slowly but surely. As I began to go up the second hill, all of the college kids lined up along the route started running up the hill with the runners. Some runners found this to be annoying, but I thought it was great! Motivating! There was chalk writing on the road telling the runners that the top of hill was near. It made me smile and gave me more drive to keep going. I got through the 3rd and final hill. I made it! 20 miles down, 6.2 miles to go.

At mile 25, I started to look for my husband and our girls, and the Kennedy family. My quads and hamstrings began to twitch. My muscles were tired. And I was emotional about the reason I was running and the angel I was running for. I relied on the fans' cheers and encouragement to carry me along. Finally, Michelle Kennedy saw me and cheered and I saw my favorite supporters . It was one of the happiest moments during my journey. We cheered, hugged and kissed, and said goodbye. At that point of the marathon, I saw the infamous Citgo sign. I knew I was almost finished with my journey. The journey that began in late fall of 2012.


Approaching my favorite supporters
                                                       
Hugs



                      
Kisses


















Goodbye
         
With 1.2 miles to go, I tried to relax. I was on my way to Boylston St, which is the last stretch of the marathon. From Kenmore Square, I continued under Massachusetts Avenue. The fan-fare was deep and got deeper as I got closer to the finish. The course turned right onto Hereford Street and then left onto Boylston Street. I could see the finish line from a distance. I smiled and reminded myself to relax. I was almost done.

As the finish line got closer, I heard a loud bang and then I saw a cloud of smoke. The bang sounded like a cannon blast. Even though it didn't seem right, I didn't give it much thought. I wasn't close enough to see the devastation on the sidewalk, so I kept running towards the finish line. Then, seconds later, there was a second blast which occurred directly to my left side. Once the cloud of smoke rose, I could then see the devastation. It was like a scene out of a horror film. So many people were on the ground. I could not believe what I was looking at.  Was this really happening? I knew then that both blasts were bombs. Everything was in slow motion right up until the smoke from the second blast cleared. Then there were people running away from the scene screaming in sheer panic and terror. Finishing the race was no longer in my mind. Survival was. I turned right and ran up Exerter St away from Boylston St., and away from the horrific scene. Was there a third bomb? Where was it safe to go? I was in total shock. I tried to call my husband to let him know what had just happened and that I was safe, but my calls would not go through. Nobody's calls were going through. Signals were dropped almost immediately for the fear that a bomb could be detonated by cellular phone.

I was freezing. I never made it through the finish line, so I had no blanket nor warm clothes to get into. I was familiar with the area and made my way back to the Copley Marriott where DFMC had the third floor designated for the team. As the shock wore off, I became an emotional mess. Not only was I physically beat up, but I had to deal with what I had witnessed. DFMC volunteers helped me get myself together and I was able to make contact with my husband via text. The DFMC volunteer walked me to Fenway Park where I was reunited with my family and the Kennedys. We left Boston immediately. Surprisingly, we encountered way less traffic than you'd think during a time like that.  

What should have been one of the happiest, most accomplished days for me and many other runners turned into a day of terror. Terror that I witnessed first hand. A coward or cowards decided they would go out and hurt innocent people, for no reason. I had an angel with me that day. Thank you, Jennifer, for looking out for my family and your family. I am grateful and lucky that I decided to run and stay on the right side of the road that day. I am also grateful and lucky that the hearing in my left ear is totally back to normal and that there is no permanent damage. I am full of sorrow for those that weren't so lucky in this senseless attack. My heart is with you, Boston.


Thank you all for your continued support. xox

Sheila

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Home Stretch!

Last week I continued the taper process. Tapering is hard sometimes because the mileage is low. With the track at the YMCA still closed because of the fumes from resurfacing the gym floor below, I'm forced to use the treadmill. Even though I'd rather run on the track or outdoors, I welcomed the treadmill work. I ran on the treadmill for an hour on Tuesday and inserted 4x800 meters with a 400 meter jog in between. Finishing at an easy pace.


On Wednesday I completed a core workout. I felt pretty good. My body is starting to repair and recover.

Thursday, I completed my final marathon pace session. I hit the treadmill for 35 minutes easy pace followed by 20 minutes marathon pace. I finished with a 5 minute cool down.

Friday- REST DAY!

On Saturday, I ran my final"long" run. 60 minutes wasn't that long, but I stuck to the program. I know tapering is important if I want to push on marathon day. And, at this point in the game, the work is done. I won't get stronger, faster, or improve my stamina. That all happened in the first 13 weeks of training. These past few weeks are about staying HEALTHY! For 60 minutes, the sun shined on my face. I did everything I could not to go to fast. I enjoyed the music in my ears. I visualized myself on marathon day. I'm ready.

Ready for my last long run
Finished


You won't hear from me until post marathon day when I recap the race. This coming week I will complete two 45 minute running sessions with five 1 minute pick-ups with a 1 minute jog in between. Finishing the sessions at an easy pace.

April 15th... prepared to be amazing.

Thank you ALL for your support and encouragement during this time of training and fundraising. If you would like to lend your support, please visit my personal web page at:

www.runDFMC.org/2013/sheilac

Thank You,

Sheila









Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taper Time!

No Matter What

All the hard work is in. Now I get to cut back on the mileage. This is the time where foam rolling, chair  and self massages, and epsom salt baths are in order. No crazy Crossfit workouts. For the next three weeks, I'll start to visualize running the Boston Marathon. The book "26 Miles To Boston" is helping me picture the course with a bit of marathon history. So far, the description given to me by one of my high school distance coaches, Tim Keegan, is right on.

I was also forced to run on the treadmill on the weekdays due to the gym floor at the Y, which is below the track, being sanded and resurfaced. I really don't care for the treadmill but I sucked it up and got the work done. No matter what, I am grateful to be able to run again. I am grateful that the inflammation in my foot is gone. I really believe it was God's way of slowing me down or forcing me to take a week off from running. I strongly believe that I will do great on April 15th. But, as an athlete, I know that anything can happen on race day. It's all going to depend on the weather and how I physically feel that day.

Tuesday, I picked up from where I left off prior to being injured. I ran ten minutes easy to begin. Then I inserted 3x1600 meters at a 7:47min/mi. I completed the session with an easy pace run. 1 hr and 10 minute run= 7miles. I felt pretty good.

Wednesday, was a big day. I had my second and final fundraiser. I decided to take a rest day. I needed to relax for the night's event, but I was also feeling a bit sore from the running session on Tuesday. What a great night! I roughly made $900 for DFMC. I am so grateful to my friends and family for showing me so much love. The Comedy Works in Albany, NY rocked! What a great place to go and enjoy some great talented comedians.

I woke up Thursday morning exhausted. I got myself in gear and headed to the YMCA to run. I began my treadmill run with an easy 10 minute mile for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, I turned up the pace to an 8 minute mile pace for 30 minutes. I was supposed to run the last half of the session for 40 minutes, but my legs felt tired. My body felt tired. So, I cut the session 10 minutes short. I felt so guilty for cutting it short but I had to go with how my body was feeling at that time. I have to keep reminding myself that you become stronger when you get the proper rest and recovery. Not when you are actually doing the workout. The workout breaks your muscles down. Rest and recovery build them back up stronger.

Another rest day on Friday.

I got my first taper miles in on Saturday morning. I ran for 2 hours or 13.25 at 9:03 minute mile. I did pretty good keeping my pace between 9 and 9 1/2 minute mile pace. Pace is going to make or break me during the marathon. I know if I go out to fast, I am going to have a miserable race. If I take control of my pace and don't let it control me, I will feel fantastic and have an awesome race. Or at least I hope so. Saturday's run was great. The sun felt great on my face. Running in the sun = a very happy me. I never imagined running and enjoying any distance races EVER. I just ran a half-marathon at an easy pace! 9:03 avg pace is an easy pace?? This didn't happen over night. I've been working on it for several years. From sprinter to distance runner. Never imagined that happening. The only thing that bothered me a bit on Saturday was my sore muscles. I have to make sure I have NO sore muscles when I toe the starting line on April 15th.



With only 14 days left until the Boston Marathon, I have raised over $7100! Thank you to all that have donated. If you would like to support my run and cause please visit my personal web page at:
wwwrunDFMC.org/2013/sheilac

Thank you in advance for your support and encouragement!

Sheila

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back on Track!

This past week I got back on track with my training, but not before I paid my orthopedic a visit. I already saw my podiatrist and he said all was fine with my foot. The podiatrist cleared me to run but told me the best thing to do was rest. Seeking a second opinion, the orthopedic said the exact same thing. Nothing was torn nor broken BUT I shouldn't run until the pain was gone. I saw the orthopedic on Monday morning and that night, the pain was totally gone! Tuesday I woke up and the pain was still gone, but I still didn't run. I decided to have a few pain-free days before I started running again. This didn't mean that I wouldn't get my sweat on. I jumped on the stationary bicycle and rode for 60 minutes. Oh, how I wanted to go on the track and run... but I knew it wasn't a good idea, so I didn't.

Wednesday, I did some cross training. My foot felt great still! I planned on running Thursday.

Thursdays are usually marathon pace days on the track. It was difficult to imagine that I could hold a fast pace for 80 minutes since I missed a whole week of training. I told myself, "just do what you can and if you have to slow down, then so be it." I felt great and managed to hold pace for the entire session. It was also a great opportunity for me to run in the gear I'm going to wear during the marathon.



Training in race day gear


Of course, I paid for it on Friday and Saturday. My foot wasn't the issue any longer. On Friday, I was sore from Thursday's track session. I decided to do nothing on Friday. That being said, I knew Saturday would be difficult; the day I ran my third and final 20 miler.

During my 20 miler on Saturday, I prayed that my foot wouldn't act up. And, it didn't. The only issues I had on the run was the soreness from Thursday's marathon pace session. My muscles got so tight. Especially my hamstrings. I knew it wasn't my lack of hydration or fueling. I should have ran on Sunday instead. I should have allowed my muscles to recover from Thursday's workout. Still, I managed to average 8:45 minute-miles for 20 miles. Finishing my last 20 miler in 2:55:16!

Physically and mentally, I am so ready for the Boston Marathon. Now all I have to do is stay healthy for the next two weeks. Staying healthy will be key to getting to the starting line. Once I'm at the starting line there will be no stopping me. I will fight to finish.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A week of Cross Training

Cross training was not the way I wanted to start my training week. But, that's exactly what happened. I had this nagging ache/pain right where the fibula attaches to the ligaments of my foot. Why does this have to happen to me just five weeks until the Boston Marathon? I've poured my heart and soul into the marathon training. I've made sure to take care of my body before, during and after ALL of my runs. So why??

I completed a fifty minute workout on the stationary bicycle on Tuesday and Thursday with no complaints. Still... I'd rather be running. More than anything, having to substitute my runs became a mental game. One that I don't like to play. It feels as if I'm losing endurance every day that I don't run. I'm sure that is not the case, but my mind doesn't know this. This isn't the first time I've had to take a break during training for a marathon. But, still, it plays a mind blowing head game with me.

On Wednesday, I decided to pay the podiatrist a visit. My right foot is still achy so I must rule out any real injury. All is well! The doctor took an X-ray and there were no broken bones nor torn ligaments. He cleared me to run but advised me to rest. So, I decided to rest my foot.

Skipping my long run on Sunday was depressing for me. I am hopeful that my foot will be better in time for Boston. I will be in Boston no matter what. And, I will toe that starting line. It will probably not be my best performance but I will finish.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Feeling strong!

I started my week on Tuesday with a speed workout on the track. I had my doubts because I ran a fast 16 miles the Sunday before. The total workout lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. It started with an easy pace for 10 minutes, then followed by 4x1200 meters with a 400 meter job in between. The rest of the time was done at an easy pace to complete the session. I did it! I didn't feel too beat up from the fast 16 miles.

Wednesdays are tough for me because I stay home. So between the speed work on Tuesday and marathon pace on Thursday, it's getting easier to convince myself to take an additional day off. But, I wouldn't allow that little voice in my head to tell me not to get up and move. I decided it was a good yoga day. My body needed that.

Every Thursday is marathon pace. It started with an easy pace for the first 25 minutes, followed by 60 minutes at marathon pace. Every week, the easy pace at the beginning of the session has progressively gone down while the marathon pace time has gone up. I am so amazed at what my body is capable of doing. I shouldn't be surprised, though. For the past nine weeks, I've been building up my endurance and speed. I guess the amazing part is seeing the progress that I'm making.

On Friday, my foot was achy. Actually, my foot hasn't felt right since Tuesday night. It felt as if I sprained it. But when and how?? The aching was off and on. There was no swelling and my foot did not hurt to the touch. It wasn't a constant ache or pain, so I stayed cognizant of it, but kept on my running schedule. It was a cross training day, so I decided to take the day off from running. This is always the time in my training where I become worried about injury due to the intensity of the training.

My ankle felt pretty good on Saturday. I cycled on the stationary bicycle for 30 minutes. I followed it with a made up workout of 10 Burpees, 20 push presses, 10 push ups, and 1 minute planks for 3 rounds. After, my ankle still felt pretty good.

Sunday run day! 20 miles or 3 hours and 10 minutes, whichever came first. Just after 7 am, I set out on my journey. Unlike the last few weekend runs, it was not snowing, raining or gloomy. The sun was out! That alone made me such a happy person. I decided that when I reached the end of Phillips Rd at route 9/20, I would double back. Route 9/20 has been a mess with the snow and dirtiness. Along my journey I felt good. My pace: mile 1( 8:57), mile 2 (8:56), mile 3 (8:55), mile 4 (8:37), mile 5 (8:25), mile 6 (8:24), mile 7 (8:27), mile 8 (8:43), mile 9 (8:44), mile 10 (8:42), mile 11 (8:30), mile 12 (8:47), mile 13 (8:58), mile14 (8:52), mile 15 (8:49), mile 16 (8:33), mile 17 (9:27), mile 18 (9:27), mile 19 (9:40), mile 20 (10:02). Not bad, I felt strong until my ankle pain grew stronger and stronger. I refused to stop running. It hurt but not enough to stop me. Of course I paid for it after, but that didn't matter. I mentally fought through those last miles and that's what I will do on marathon Monday... fight! Time for some much deserved and needed rest.

Ready for Boston


A bit swollen after 20

Monday, March 4, 2013

Six Weeks Left Until Boston!

On Tuesday, my week started with a one hour and fifteen minute track workout. It consisted of a 10 minute easy run, followed by 5x800 meters with a 400 meter jog in between. The rest of the time was completed at an easy pace. I was so relieved to be able to complete this session. I had my doubts that I could finish it. After running twenty miles on Sunday, I wasn't sure my body was recovered enough to do a speed workout. But, to my surprise, I felt good. My body is adapting and responding positively to the speed workouts.

Tapout XT workout on Wednesday! I just love this type of cross training. It is a total body workout without putting any stress on my running muscles. I know I am a better runner because I work those non-running muscles. Sometimes, I'm not sure how I have the energy to do it. Honestly, my mind tries to convince me to take a rest day rather than a cross training day. But, I fight that little voice in my head. Especially if my body feels recovered.

Thirty Five minute easy run followed by a fifty minute marathon pace on Thursday. Thursdays are starting to get very tough. Mentally tough. The indoor track for marathon pacing is getting to me. It's not the ideal place to do such a run, but I have no other options. Suck it up, buttercup, I am happy to be able to run. Knowing this makes it a bit easier to deal with it.

Friday, for some reason, I felt stressed and unhappy. A good crossfit type of day. It was just what I needed. Five rounds of 3 rope ascending, 10 knees to elbows, 21 lunges w/ 45lb plate over head and 400 meter run. Five rounds of this equaled 12 reps of rope ascending, 50 reps of knees to elbows, 105 reps of lunges and 1.25 mile run! Yup, I loved it on Friday and paid for it on Saturday.

So on Saturday, I felt the affects of Off White. Which was the name of the workout I completed on Friday. Some foam rolling and message was it for that day.

March 1st! Which means spring is around the corner. So why is it that mother nature waits for the weekend to snow?! I get my runs done... but cut me a break! I know I shouldn't complain, I do live in the Northeast. And, we all know that it can snow in March, April, and even May. Plain and simple, just run!

I went off on a 2 hr and 30 minute run or 16 miles, which ever came first. It snowed the entire time on my run. I could see the sun behind the clouds, but it was not going to make an appearance. The clouds were way too thick. My thighs were still a bit sore from Friday's cruel crossfit workout, but still not sore enough to keep me from my long run. There was light snow and visibility wasn't too bad. I decided to run out and back. The last few long runs I've done were loops which have put me out on route 9&20. Route 9&20 sucks to run on in the winter. Throughout the run, I hit some good hills. What I liked the most about this run is that I hit hills in the beginning, middle and at the end of my run. That keeps my quads alert, in check and challenged. I think I was trying to outrun the snow and the wind. I finished 16 miles in 2 hours 19 minutes and 4 seconds. 8:42 minute mile pace. The fastest 16 training miles every! I am so ready for Boston.

No matter the weather...


Thank you for stopping by,

Sheila

Monday, February 25, 2013

Over the Half Way Point

Training Week of Feb 18th-24th

Like most weeks, I started it off with a rest and recovery day on Monday. I cannot stress how important a rest day is. And, sometimes I find myself taking an additional rest day. That's exactly what I did this past week. After Tuesday's track workout, I took Wednesday off. The 6x800meters that I ran kicked my ass. I felt so guilty for taking Wednesday off but I had to listen to my body and rest.

I ran 45 minutes easy to start and then ran 40 minutes at marathon pace on Thursday. Marathon pace on an indoor track is pure torture.

I completed a legs and back workout on Friday. I felt a bit beat up by the end of the week, so I made sure to foam roll and self massage. Especially my hips... they were (and still are) pretty knotted up.

I enjoyed a 30 minute stationary cycle ride on Saturday with a variation of push ups and upper body moves for 60 minutes, which kept my heart rate up.

On Sunday, I woke at 6am and by 7am, I set out for a 3:10hr run or 20miles. Which ever came first. The temp was perfect for a long run. There was a light misty rain coming down and at about 1hr 30min into my run, the light rain changed over to a light snow. I was so focused that I was oblivious to the weather. I felt good and my stomach was solid. Stomach issues were no more. It was the perfect opportunity to get my fueling routine right. About 13.45 miles into the run, I was running on uneven &  semi frozen ground. I caught myself once as I almost slipped. It was the last thing I needed... to twist an ankle or worse. My pace slowed from all the zigging and zagging I had to do. But, 20 miles came at 3:01:04! I was thrilled to have had average a 9:03 minute mile for 20miles! I had just under nine minutes to spare. And to think I still have two more 20 milers in my training schedule. I had friends tell me they were jealous of the 20 miles I ran. That made me smile. Sunday, I did this:



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tough Runs= Strong Runner

Week of Feb 12th-16th, 2013

What a rough week it was. It began Tuesday with a one hour and fifteen minute run. The session consisted of a ten minute run at an easy pace. At ten minutes, I ran 400 meters (8 times) with 200 meter jog in between. The remainder of the time was completed at an easy pace. My stomach was not feeling 100%. This past Saturday, I ate something at lunch time that did not agree with me. And still, days later, my stomach felt as if it had a few bricks in it. But I toughed the session out and finished.

Wednesday, it was Plyo XT, which was a whole lot of lunging and squatting. I felt great while I was preforming the high number of lunges and squats, but my hip started to feel sore as night fell. All I could do was hope that I would not be too sore for my track session the next day.

Yup... my hip was sore on Thursday, just as I thought it would be. It wasn't sore enough to side line me, so off to the indoor track I went. I ran 55 minutes at an easy pace and then 30 minutes at marathon pace. Somewhere during the marathon pace, I lost track of time and actually ran for 35 minutes. My stomach felt awful. But, I refused to let my stomach issues take me out. These are the times where I have to dig in and just suck it up because anything can happen during the marathon. Not feeling 100% is good practice. The awfulness in my stomach felt much better when the Boston Athletic Associations gave a sneak peak of this....



On Friday, I cycled for 50 minutes. Afterward, I stretched, foam rolled and self massaged my hips with a lacrosse ball. I was sore but felt pretty good.

I usually do my long runs on Sunday, but Saturday was the better day last weekend. So I ran on Saturday. After I leisurely awoke and made breakfast for myself and my family, I set off for a 2.5hr run or 16 miles, which ever came first. It was cold and windy but I felt good. My stomach felt fine. At 40 minutes, I took in fuel and washed it down with some EFS mixed into my water. As I approached the half way time of 1hr and 15 minutes, my stomach began to knot up. Thankfully, there was a gas station along the route and I was able to make a pit-stop. I continued on my journey, which got tougher. Because my stomach wasn't feeling great, I cut back on the fuel intake. This was not a good thing because I started feeling sluggish. Again, I just hung on and kept running. I felt so miserable. All I wanted to do was get home. I managed to run 16 miles in 2hours, 29minutes and 17seconds. I've never been so happy to get home.

Here's hoping for a better next week!

Thanks for stopping by,

Sheila

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week 7 was a Roller Coaster Ride

Week of February 4th-10th:

I started my training week on Tuesday with my first speed workout. It began with 10 minutes at an easy pace. At 10 minutes, I picked up the pace to a 7:30 minute mile for one minute followed with a 1 minute jog. I repeated this 5x's. The workout didn't end there. I finished the session with a 55 minute easy run bring the total time on my legs to 1hr and 15 minutes. I have just survived my first speed workout.

Wednesday, I enjoyed a cross training session in the comfort of my home. This is also the day my oldest daughter, Gabriella became ill with a stomach virus. I kept thinking "please don't get sick".

Gabriella was still not feeling well on Thursday, so this forced me to cancel my running session in the morning. I had to wait for my husband to come home from work that evening to complete my speed workout on the track. I dislike training in the evening. But, to my surprise, once I started the session, I felt great. I started out with a 55 minute easy run followed by a 1 minute pick up at a 7:30 minute mile with a 1 minute jog to follow. I repeated this 5x's. The session ended with a 10 minute easy run totaling 1 hour 15 minutes. What a relief... My first week of speed work was done and I survived it!

Finally, Gabriella felt well enough to go to school but it was canceled due to the snow blizzard that was predicted. No problem... My basement is set up for days like this. Oh, no, wait... a snow blizzard the day before my first fundraiser?! No problem. The show must go on, and it did.

I woke up in the darkness on Saturday. I had my first fundraiser. With the snow that covered the ground during the overnight hours, I had no idea what to expect. It took me twenty minutes to dig my car out and, to my surprise, the roads were not bad. I arrived at Crossfit Beyond just a bit past 8am. Thirty-two people had signed up in advance for the event and I expected more people to show up and sign up that morning. Registration for the event opened at 8:45 am. Fifteen minutes went by and no new faces showed up. At about 9:30 am people start walking in. What a relief. The work out of the day was "Fight Gone Bad". After a short break we were broken down into teams and did a team workout. What fun was had by all. There were people trying out Crossfit for the first time. No one complained. Every one was having a great time. At about noon time we all enjoyed a delicious chicken lunch along with some pizza and tilapia soup. It turned out to be a great day. We raised $1513 for a great cause.


Crossfit Fundraiser


What a great day Saturday turned out to be. I arrived at my house from the days event just after 2:30pm feeling a bit spent. All of a sudden, I felt very tired. I soaked in a hot epsom salt bath and almost fell asleep. As the time went by, I wasn't feeling to great. I felt very nauseous. I thought, "this can't be happening." All I kept thinking about was the three hour+ run I had to do the next morning. As night set in, I began getting sick. Something did not agree with me at lunch time. I felt so weak. I could not eat nor drink anything and became dehydrated. All I wanted to do was sleep. So off to bed I went, hoping that maybe in the morning I would feel well enough to go for my run.

My watch alarm went off at 5:30 am on Sunday. My body felt weak. Still, I tried to eat something to see how my stomach would react. I toasted a bagel and took a few bites. I began to sweat and shiver then I felt faint. I thought, "get your ass back in bed". And so I did. Sunday came and went and so did my long run. The long run is the one run I hate to miss. I'd rather miss a run during the weekday than miss a long run. But, I also know that missing one long run isn't going to break me. I really believe that it was God's way of slowing me down and forcing me to take a few days off. In the end my body will thank me. I am sure of it. 

Thank you for stopping by,

Sheila