Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I will continue thanking people for the foreseeable future. I am so grateful for everything - on race day I am thankful my family stuck it out waiting for me, thankful for Connie for catching me and her friend Gerry trying to massage my calves, thankful for Rebekah walking me up Heartbreak.
I took about an hour and a half longer to finish than I'd expected I would.
I started strong, having trained pretty well although with a sore knee, and ran about twelve miles. The weather was a lot warmer than expected, and a lot of people were having trouble keeping things together. I thought I was drinking enough and taking enough salt/pretzels/sports drink to be replenished, but after mile 12 both my calves kept seizing up when I ran more than a few hundred feet. The sore knee I was running through. I could not solve the calves.
For the most part, I could walk, and as the day progressed the "Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston" refrain stuck with me. Perhaps if it was some other race I would have packed it in when I reached my family at mile 17.
I knew I was in for a long day if I had to walk it but I could walk it, and I really really wanted the finish line under my own power. #BostonStrong and all.
I was at peace knowing I'd get there long after most of the crowds had thinned, and I was touched that there were many people still along the back half of the route happy to have someone to encourage!
A medical tent at Cleveland Circle finally fed me some salty broth. I kept walking, and trying to run without being able to get more than a few hundred feet before my calves seized. At mile 25, something fired up enabling me to run that last mile + .2, the mile I wasn't able to run last year. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. In tears, relieved.
I got my medal, my mylar jacket, a finisher's time for coming in just under six hours, raised piles of awareness and funds for Samaritans, got to know some incredibly strong Samaritans teammates, and learned a little something about how generous my community is. I also did my small part to help Boston reclaim its signature race.
I have said for years that on marathon day you do the best you can with the day and body you have. Until yesterday, I had the good fortune to be able to work with reasonable days and a cooperative body. Today I'm walking, slowly, and grateful for everything. I guess this experience confirms that I'm a real marathoner.
I did learn that it takes a lot of work to come in last at a marathon, because there were plenty of people behind me.
There'll be pictures forthcoming.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Unless it isn't.
I'm never going to outrun it and I do use the word "compete" a little loosely. I'm no Big Papi, no Mikaela Shiffrin. I'm not going to win.
The best I hope for is that finisher's medal and Mylar jacket in Copley Square later the same day I start in Hopkinton. If I accomplish that, and if I can find some extra encouragement for my fellow Samaritans team members and anyone else I come across along the course, then I will have gotten it done.
After last year's finish, and this winter's teeth, getting to the start is the victory. The rest is a celebratory lap. A long one, sure.
36,000 people are running this race. My # is 32,763. That's even more people than took the bar exam my year.
It is important to me run this thing right
to honor Shaira and her community
to honor those who have donated to Samaritans on the strength of my recommendation and commitment
to pay my respects to the running world and those lost and traumatized last year
But I am not important to this race. There are 32,672 people starting ahead of me and 3,237 people after me. The marathon will go quite oblivious to my presence.
One more long run this weekend; from here 24 days until the Marathon. My response to IT pain this year differs strikingly from last year. I've already gone 19-20-21 milers, so I've done a lot more long running than I did last year. I know what I'm capable of doing on race day with only one of the long runs in me, so I do not need to worry about getting on the bus and back to Boston on foot.
Yeah, it's going to hurt. Something is going to hurt. It's a marathon. I'm not young. If it were easy, there'd be a million people running and only thirty six thousand cheering. Enough to fill the Wellesley scream tunnel.
Oh, and IT band? Meet lacrosse ball. Ice pack. Naproxen sodium. And, to quote a beloved Snoopy bathrobe of my youth, "Raw Strength and Courage." You might be thick, tough, chronically inflamed and tearing my knee apart, but you will not stop my marathon!
One more thing: I'm totally psyched for this: http://www.oldsouth.org/one-year-later#scarves thanks to the encouragement of some of my biggest fans! It's not too late to send a scarf! The black-looking color is really blue. Not my best work but it'll be at Old South Church in plenty of time!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
I cannot possibly express my gratitude for everyone who donated products, services, gift cards, and everyone who bought raffle tickets and bid on stuff and everyone who enjoyed a free chair massage and tipped generously, and everyone who has offered so much support not only to Samaritans but to me personally.
I could not have pulled this off without a lot of help!
Please support everyone listed here when you need stuff!!
Friday, March 14, 2014
Sixteen years ago I ran my first marathon, the inaugural Flying Pig in Cincinnati. Slowly.
I was afraid of everything.
My body the course the distance my projected time finishing not finishing the weather the sports drinks the water stops the porta-potties the other runners the spectators the lack of spectators my sneakers, timing chip, socks, shorts, bra, shirt, hat, fanny pack (which I was right about and wound up handing to a little kid halfway through).
Sixteen years later, I fear melanoma. Asbestos exposure. The college application process.
I pathologically fear throwing up. Not sure how to desensitize myself from that one...
This year, I have not obsessed over every twinge or cramp, and there are twinges and cramps. I don't know whether it's age or experience that has taken my anxiety offline. Perhaps the catastrophic events of last year have put everything in perspective.
I respect the course, the distance, the weather, my gear and food/drink. I also trust my legs, my heart, my brain, my gear...the security policies in place this year, the general love Boston has for this event.
In two years, with your support, I have raised nearly $12,000 for Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services, with five more weeks to go this year. Like Arlo said in the live recording of "Alice's Restaurant,"
"If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing itFor another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired."
I'm not scared, or tired. I'm revved. I could run 52 miles...I have two more twenty-milers planned (the first this weekend, the second on the course in a few weeks!) and I am so inspired by the support you all have shown Samaritans!
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Where: Joe Sent Me at 849 Main Street, Waltham.
Why? Help raise money to support Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services!
Raffle items: You can buy tickets from me in advance, winners do not have to be present when we pick the winning tickets at approximately 9:45pm)
- $25 gift card to Coyote Impressions (Support this donor!)
- $25 gift card to Taza Chocolate (source of my post-long-run recovery Mexican hot chocolate Cacao Puro!)
- $50 gift card to J.R. Burke Salon (my tresses-whisperers) (Support this donor!!)
- $50 gift card to Marathon Sports (Support this donor!)
- Mystery novels signed by local (and famous!) authors!
- Hand knit baby blanket - donated by John Gillis and Kathleen Kelly!
Bidding ends at 10pm. I will help with proxy bidding if you cannot be there/cannot stay. For items under my control (batches of truffles, for example, if losing bidders will match the winning bid we may be able to work something out!)
- JUST ADDED: chocolate raspberry cheesecake courtesy of Ron and Patty Moore (winner must be present otherwise this sucker's going down!)
- Oral B Braun Professional electric toothbrush - donated by Dr. David G. and Maryellen Wyman! ($125 value)
- In-Home private yoga class donated by Jennifer Parker ($100 value) Great for everyone from marathon runners to couch-jockeys...
- SoulCollage® workshop for up to five people. Valued at $375! See http://soulcollage.com
for details about this creative and self-reflective card making process! Donated by Jen Navarro!
- One-hour long massage from Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage at her Arlington office! (Value $100)
- (rumor: designer bag by Very Local Designer)
- (rumor: hour-long family/pet photo shoot from Very Local Up and Coming photographer)
- Two dozen handmade cookie dough truffles (Value: $30)
- Hand knit socks by yours truly - priceless ;-)
- Companionship on a long run, bike or swim (or all three) at your pace and distance with yours-truly! - priceless!
On-site Chair Massage! Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage will be at our fundraising event offering chair massages for donations to the Samaritans. Also see her Silent Auction donation of an hour massage at her Arlington office for the auction!
Donations to Samaritans welcome, as is all the moral support you can muster - this is a marathon after all!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Here's how I think that is probably not how most of the rest of the world thinks:
I think, I can run a big loop for an hour and twenty minutes, pick up my running buddy who did not want to go that early or that far, loop with her to come back to my house at the end of her part of our run together so that I could pick up my dog
Sunday, February 23, 2014
So far for 2014 I've gotten 45 donations and I'm about a quarter pound in on the first round of cookie dough, without the patience to truffleize them. Spoonfuls.
This weekend the polar vortex weather let up for half a sec, although yesterday's sidewalks were icy it felt brilliant to train in warming sun. I did not need this hat, though I think the coming week calls for oodles more cold...
Saturday's group run called for only 10 miles. Which included Heartbreak Hill and on into Kenmore Square. It's getting a little more normalized, but I still get chills cresting the Hill and as BC, then Fenway and the Hancock tower come into view. Fenway. Red Sox. Spring. Finishing Boston. But I digress.
Only. Not too long ago I would have never believed I'd consider "only" a modifier for a 10 mile run. I'm running strong, I love our Samaritans team, and I cannot say enough good about how much support I have been shown on this journey. Samaritans supports its runners well, and the runners support each other. It's a treat to be able to take part.
But really what's on my mind as I write some thank-yous for donations received is how humbling it is to receive any of this support. People in our community have gone above and beyond, over the long haul, to help neighbor families in times of loss. I am motivated to be a better person, a better neighbor, through participating in and witnessing these myriad acts of kindness. Donations to Samaritans support Samaritans, of course, but also reflect the strength of our belief in our own community, and support for me and my crazy running trying to do some good.
With just under two months until the Marathon, my next six weeks will be spent alternating weekends running 20 miles and running 10 for the weekend long run, and trying to squeeze in an 8-10 miler on a weekday morning before work, with weekly hill runs and bike commuting thrown in there for active recovery and saving time to get the long runs in. More cookie dough, stat!
Stay tuned for more info about my fundraising party to be held at Joe Sent Me! in Waltham on March 22! I'll be raffling off gift cards and donated signed mystery books, and a silent auction will include a photo shoot, cookie-dough truffles, hand-knit socks, and so far a donated SoulCollage® workshop valued at $375! Donations of time, services, companionship on long runs, or anything you think will help are welcomed!
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Newton, a nearby town, is reeling from losing a third teenager in recent months: Newton School's Support After Suicide.
“Every parent feels this in their heart,” Ruth Reibstein, whose two children recently graduated from Newton North, said in an interview in Newton Centre. “We all know people who are suffering, and you can’t take away all the misery and pain. All you can do is reach out and help where you can.” From the Boston Globe, Feb. 8, 2014.
I can't say it any more loudly or clearly. As a parent, as an adult and community member, I reach out my arms to catch kids falling, and in this nightmarish reality, unlike when they were small and portable, now they are big, full of self-determination and whatever it is that prevents them from reaching back for safety.
With my toddler I played a game that spooked an early childhood specialist. I'd say, "Baby overboard!" and my physically out-there toddler would fall backwards in my arms - always and only when it was safe would I say the magic words, when I had a good firm grip, never off of a hotel balcony. The specialist recovered her composure and said, "She really trusts you."
I would give anything for arms wide and strong enough to catch these kids. Knowing I can't do that, the next best thing is mustering support for agencies that can. Samaritans does.
Tomorrow, on my journey to Copley Square, I'm planning 17 training miles. I really do not care what the weather's going to be, I'm going to do these miles, this training, this marathon, and this fund and awareness raising anyway.
Do you know a troubled kid? Check out these resources, including signs a child may be at risk.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
What I want everyone I know who knows teenagers to know is that Samaritans is not just for adults. Over this two-year journey to Copley Square, I have talked with many who have used hotline services, volunteered to respond to crisis calls, and lost loved ones to suicide. My takeaway is that being able to talk about the loss, or during the crisis situation, is vitally important to being able to carry on with the work of being human.
I'll let the Samaritans website tell you about their teen-specific services:
The Samariteens is the youth peer leadership segment of our Befriending Services. It is dedicated specifically to the prevention of suicide among teens. Begun in 1986, this teen help line provides confidential peer support and understanding to teens who are struggling with feelings of depression, loneliness and stress. From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, this service is staffed by volunteers between the ages of 15 and 18; outside those hours, calls are answered by adult volunteers.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Staying off the subway, extreme edition, proving two tenets this morning:
1. I'm told yes I was dropped on my head once as a baby.
2. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Today's 9 mile bike commute started in apparently 2 degree air. Brought to you by garmont hiking boots, marmot thermals, that full-wool sweater from Ecuador you bought in the student center lobby almost thirty years ago, Gore tex, ll bean for the jacket, and black diamond mittens (the ones that do nothing for you waiting for a bus miraculously kept most of the cold out this morning!) And fleece. Thanks heavens for fleece, including my Samaritans hat!
My phone said I couldn't use the flash in low temperatures...
Stay warm and careful out there!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Had a great catch-up conversation yesterday in which I was reminded why I'm doing this off the charts running, committing to my third marathon in three years, committing to honoring the memories of now two young women from my community by raising money for (and awareness of) Samaritans, Inc. suicide prevention and grief support services.
At a high school guidance meeting for parents, we were presented to about suicide and the supports available through school. It has been a difficult stretch for our town, having lost two children as well as last year an entire family to a murder-suicide that involved a father, mother, and twin infant boys. I'm obviously heartened that the school is applying resources to connect students with support and awareness.
This morning, in relatively balmy thirty-degree weather, I thought about warm pajamas. I suppose when it's been much colder I haven't had the luxury of thinking about much but survival. This morning? Beautiful.
- A few years ago, when my thyroid hit the weeds, functioning so low my physician wouldn't tell me the number, I would get up and dressed for the day and stand there staring practically in tears at the pajamas folded, still warm, on my pillow, desperately wanting to get back into them and go back to bed. It took me several months to figure out that this went well beyond my typical winter hibernation and say something to get started down the road to diagnose and fix.
- When my daughter was small, I would gather her pajamas for the laundry, appreciating the sleepy warmth clinging still when I got them early, grateful for a small being to care for, grateful for that warmth, our ability to provide a cozy place to sleep, a warm house, a soft bed. Warm pajamas. She's a lot more responsible for her own laundry, and she's long outgrown the feety pajamas with embroidered cupcakes and critters that so melt my heart, but we have her, for which I am grateful.
In my neighborhood, there are families grieving the loss of their children. I cannot fathom the extent of this grief. A small thing I can do is run a marathon to support a service provider with a mission to prevent losses like these.
Please join me. There's a link over there ------------------------------------>
Watch this space for details of an upcoming fundraising party/raffle/silent auction to help raise money for Samaritans. Thanks!
Apropos of nothing, here's what today looked like:
Monday, January 6, 2014
We appear to be in year two of an ice nightmare winter trend. Cold, wet, icy, snowy. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Erasing all memory of spring leaf, flower, fastball.
I could have subtracted a layer from my legs and probably two from my tops but the wind chill was supposed to be in the minus twenties and I hate the feeling like I'll never be able to warm up after I've gotten chilled. The feeling that sets in November and doesn't lift until mid-May without me even leaving the house.
At this point, with road shoulders plowed like clogged arteries, darkness, and bouts of arctic air, winter feels insurmountably constricting. (Though around here we are now getting more than a minute's worth of additional daylight each day, and finally sunrise and sunset are both moving backwards to more humane hours.)
I so want to just stay in bed. But. Boston is calling and I want to run it like I own it because there will never be another one like it...and I'm not sure I have another one in me. So I train.
I so want to just stay in bed, but Samaritans takes 350 calls each day - 24/7 - and I am honored to be able to use my running to make sure resources are available for each individual seeking help. I think about caller 351 - will that be someone I know, care about, depend on? Will Samaritans be able to take that call?
I was asked why I'd run 13 outdoor miles on a day like Saturday, especially since I have a treadmill available. If I didn't get out there, winter would win, and I've got far too many years left in me to be cowed by an entire season. Even if I'd prefer it act more like 2012 and less like 2013/2014. I know what it's capable of and am disappointed terribly in this winter's failure to live up to that potential!