Monday, January 17, 2011

Arizona...downhill from here?

Arizona, a state of gorgeous sunsets, warm winters, and flat, fast race courses. This race was a lot of fun, mainly because I finally reached my goal of finishing a marathon under 4 hours. 3:59:15 was my official time! Jen also had a personal best in the half-marathon, and blew her initial 3 hour goal out of the water, finishing in 2:39:51. Awesome job Jen! We are attributing our success to our matching cute Lululemon shirts, $5 Wal-Mart sunglasses and head bands (made by Jen.) Or maybe it was my good luck hoodie, a $5 Miley Cyrus pink one from Wal-Mart, purchased the night before (along with our awesome sporty sunglasses), which kept me warm both before and after the race. (Anyone ever go to Wal-Mart on a Saturday night? Well, don't)

Of course it didn't hurt that the course was flat as Kate Hudson's chest. And maybe it didn't hurt that I had been training like Rocky in the dead of winter like he did in the one where he beats that Russian guy. Funny how much faster you can run when you're not slipping on snow and ice. But now Jen and I both face the question of whether our finish times go downhill from here when we run courses that maybe aren't so flat.

Not probably one of the most scenic courses, but this one still wasn't too bad. Although, from comparing notes with Jen, I think the marathon course was probably more scenic than the 1/2 marathon course. The marathon course took us by Camelback Mountain, and through the Old Town area of Scottsdale. Both courses started downtown Phoenix and ended up on ASU's campus in Tempe. This being a Rock-n-Roll series marathon, there were several bands along the route, and it seems that every high school cheerleading or spirit squad came out to cheer the runners along, all dressed to various themes of course. One of my favorites were the rocked out Appetite for Destruction girls. Over all, it was well organized, with lots of aid stations, and there were very few spots on the course that were void of spectators. Even the homeless people were cheering us on (and picking up discarded t-shirts and sweatshirts).

And of course, the weather conditions were absolutely perfect. Remind me again why I live in Chicago? This race also had a pretty cool medal, with a sparkly cactus and everything. Although it doesn't top the great card I got from Mackenzie, who came out with her mom and brother Jack to congratulate me on my finish. (Sorry Nicole I didn't get to spend more than a few minutes with you! Thank you SO much for coming out, though, you're awesome!) Jen and I are trying to complete 3 Rock-n-Roll marathons this year, so we can be in the "Heavy Medal Club" and score ourselves a Triple Crown medal. I'm already signed up for the Rock-n-Roll New Orleans marathon next month, I think Jen's shooting for San Diego in June, and we both are hoping to do the Rock-n-Roll in Savannah, GA in November. That medal is all but ours!

To be honest, though, I'm not sure how I ended up doing so well. I skipped a 20 mile run during my training, I haven't been running fast, and I feel like my motivation to train has been minimal this winter. But, to get a little sentimental here... For those of you who are close to me, you know that over the past year, my self-esteem and confidence have taken a few hits. Maybe one of the things that keeps me running is that when I finish a race or a long run, I can feel good about myself for accomplishing that, despite what other crap is going on in my life. I remember at one point of this race seeing a sign made by some cute cheerleading squad, among the other "You Rock" and "Go Runners" signs; one that simply said, "You are amazing." It made me think to myself, "You know, I am amazing." So forget all those other factors that have me doubting myself. I can finish this race, and darn it, I will finish it under 4 hours, no matter how much it hurts. So what if my legs are tired? I can sit down when I'm done, and the sooner I'm done, the sooner I can sit down!

And sit down I did. Jen and I enjoyed a nice soak in the hot tub at the resort where her mom works. Thank you Jane and your employer for all your hospitality! I hope Murphy has recovered from being terrorized by the 3 little monsters, Dean, Kash and Kaya. Yes, Dean joined me for this trip as well. He had a chance to run outside in the warm sun with his sister Kaya and her adopted brother Kash! He is still tired from all the activity!

So, with Arizona done, I've only got 44 more to go. 44...wait a minute, that sounds like a lot. What have I gotten myself into?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Old Man Winter....

Oh how I hate thee...let me count the ways. I've had my fill of long winter runs. But in theory, don't they sound nice? A quiet run, with snow softly falling, and that winter silence except for the sound of your feet crunching on the snow and ice. In reality, it's windy, slippery, and that falling snow eventually soaks you to the bone. The winter weather has deterred me from only one long weekend run so far, which was last weekend when the "feels like" temperature was 2 degrees. Sorry, I just can't do that. But I've been pretty impressed with myself that I've actually been out there in snow, several inches deep, trying to stay in training mode for my next couple of races. Of course, I do not train and suffer in silence. I complain about it every chance I get! Like now, for example.
So tomorrow, I hope to take on my last long winter run before the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in Phoenix, AZ next Sunday. And boy am I excited to run in the sun...a high of 71 race day! I'm going to be that crazy person in Arizona who's sitting by the pool, while the locals are wearing sweaters and wool coats. I can't wait! (If you want to track me, sign up at for text messages updates.)
But after that, it's back to running in the snow since I have to keep up the ole' endurance for my next race in New Orleans on Feb. 13th. Summer can't come soon enough. Of course then, I'll complain about how hot it is. ; )
To remind you all why I'm doing this, it's to raise awareness for some great charities, Don't Bully My Breed and Hospitals for Humanity. DBMB is in need of donations to help shelter those dogs that have been rescued from the cold. And HFH has a full year of medical missions to help those around the world that don't get the most basic medical care. Please join the Don't Bully My Breed page on facebook to keep up to date on what great things they are doing for our four-legged friends, and check out the RUS page on
Thanks and Happy 2011!