less than 24 hours to go ...

... to my first marathon! I've been posting about it over here. I'm pretty ready, as ready as I can be. I went to the expo yesterday and picked up all my stuff ... race number (29473), chip, tyvek jacket/pants that i can tear off and toss when I'm fully warmed up, freebies, and a sign for my kids to wave at me at mile 8 :).

I'm so glad to have lots of people to look for on the route ... friends, family, a cousin volunteering at mile 17 to hand out water, in-laws in town to cheer and help babysit, and the prayers of many. My fundraising is over $5000 now, truly amazing! I just got another check in the mail today too, so that will make it even more.

It's been a long time coming and still doesn't seem quite real. I started running, with this in mind, in the first week of January, 2007. I could barely run 10 minutes (the cold didn't help!). I hope to make all the wee hours, pain, agony, and joy of it all be worth the effort. Even if something happens and I don't finish, I have NO regrets about the training. It's been an extremely healthy thing for me both physically and mentally. I love getting lost in my head when I run, and hope tomorrow proves to be no exception. It's true that it's more a mental game than a physical one. Very true.

I hope to be done 24 hours from now ... I start at 10am, and aim to finish in 4:15 so that has me crossing the finish line between 2:15 and 2:30. It's just another long run, right? With spectators. And water stations. And an agonizingly long time between when I have to get up and when I start, almost 5 hours. I dread that part a bit.

I'll post to the blog afterwards, and my running blog will have updates posted after every timing mat I cross, and there are about 18 of them ... so you can see a blow-by-blow account over there if you're interested.

Off to nap, if possible :).

of shofars and mermaids and wires

it's been a day.

it started with m taking the boys, dropping Fynn at school, and taking D to the Met to see the armor. D was off for 2 days for Rosh Hashanna. I got my running gear on, trotted over to my friend S's picked her up and ran to Prospect Park to do a couple laps. As we were entering the park, we started to pass a group of Hassidic men and boys who were gathered on the median. S called out "happy new year!" to them, and one called back something about a shofar? wasn't sure what he said, but he started almost trotting behind us, and asked if we were ready? i muttered sure, not knowing what i'd agreed to but was intrigued enough about being chased by someone who normally won't even look me in the eye, that i was game. they started to run behind us, with the one who'd spoken taking out his rams horn and blowing it madly. chasing us down the road. i felt like i'd stumbled into the most bizarre parade, but was entirely amused. S was a bit freaked out and sped up. After about 20 yards they said something about running and stopped. I asked a Jewish friend tonight about the whole deal, and found that they believe that if ALL jews hear the sound of the shofar, the Messiah will come. S's Happy New Year probably made them think we might be jewish ... either way I got a kick out of the parade!

The mermaids made their appearance at the salon where i got a haircut today. i found the place via a facebook ad ... they sell discount slots at salons for blank spots in their appointment book. i still paid too much, but it was half of their normal price. the fact that it was called Michael Angelo's Wonderland might have clued me in to fact that it wasn't a demure place ... a stuffed cheetah wearing jewelry in front of the desk, getting Hello Dahling'ed upon arrival, fake flowers matted on the walls, scratch and sniff wallpaper! (this I discovered by reading the website After i was there, alas ... ), lucite chairs, mermaids with hot pink teased hair, enclosed in glass bubbles and hanging from the ceiling, waterfalls of blue tinsel ... you get the idea. the fact that it was in the west village and boasted a modeling/vogueing/celebrity clientelle might have given me a clue.

I had a great time :). Gabriel took care of me, didn't suggest anything wild, and gave me a great cut. The pic doesn't do it justice, though it's pretty simple. i have bangs again! i was in my teens the last time that happened i think. i looked up the site once i got home, and discovered that 1) i royally undertipped (you're supposed to pay 15-20 of the normal price, not the discounted one) and 2) that Gabriel has also cut lots of celebrity hair including some names even I recognize :).

Before I crash, the wire ... Man on Wire to be exact, the movie I saw tonight. Fascinating and disturbing in the end ... a man driven by a dream, a complex but oh so simple dream, and his path to it. And what happened afterwards, which was the part that bothered me. I won't spoil it, but his resemblance to M fell apart for me at the end! His dream? To walk on a tightrope between the world trade center towers. He did it, 1/4 mile up, and the images are haunting.

It's been an interesting day.

the running story

i should know better than to promise stories, but days later here it is :). sans capitals as i'm tired of the keyboard ...

i've talked here and there about running on this blog, and keep another blog over here that somewhat chronicles my running history. i've wanted to run the NYC marathon since 2005, when i went and watched it being run just 4 blocks from my house. we live at mile 8.5 or so of the route, and i was feeling queasy that morning from my pregnancy with fynn and so stayed home from church and sat on the curb and watched. for hours. the queasiness was forgotten as i watched thousands upon thousands walk, roll, amble, shuffle, pound, trot, and wheeze by.

the runners came in every shape and size and ability, and the looks on their faces were quite the study. i saw the joy, determination, competition, steadiness, and sometimes frustration and defeat scroll across their faces. i wanted in. i felt a tremendous pull to get out there and join the ranks, pushing myself to complete something that daunting. i'd always loved running, but never had the discipline to do anything with it. (more on that here, i won't repeat myself)

fast forward to last week, after 17 months of running regularly, two marathon lottery denials, and the realization that if i don't run it this year, i probably never will (for lots of reasons that i won't go into, like moving thoughts and possibly more kids and things like that). i'd decided to run it for charity, which would get me guaranteed entry into this year's race, provided i raise (for the 'cheapest' charity) $2500. Daunting at best, rather terrifying actually, but i looked at it as the price for running on 'my schedule'.

i looked at the various charities offering entry, and thought i'd just go with the Team for Kids, which is the biggest, requires 'only' $2500, and has a great support team. They are the charity arm of the NYRR, and serve lots of nyc kids with running programs to help keep them inspired, healthy, and out of trouble. Great cause, but not something that particularly hit home to me. but i wanted in, so was prepared.

then my friend S (a big supporter of my running) started chatting w/me online, and when i mentioned the charity aspect, his response caught me off guard. "Why do you think God thinks you need to do that right now?" i answered that I thought i needed to do it, and yes God had put that hurdle in the way of my plans. and then did some thinking. and a bit more thinking.

running has been MY thing since i started it last january. my time alone, my goal, my enjoyment. i've been blessed with health and the ability to do it, and have acknowledged that to God and asked that he let it stay that way. i love getting lost in my thoughts, in the push and pull of 'how much further', and feeling the ebb of my energy be replaced with the exhilaration of finishing, furthering, and feeling the edges of my abilities. when i've felt beaten down and at the end of my rope in the last year, i've let God know that he could take it away if he wanted, but i really really hoped he wouldn't.

so after that question, i started looking at the charity partners list. i'd discounted the main 3 charities as ones i couldn't really relate to, and saw the 'hole in the wall gang' that i'd noticed before, a foundation offering free camps for sick and disabled kids, founded by paul newman. i liked the idea, and having supported Make a Wish in the past, it felt familiar. They require you to raise $3000, which was a bit more daunting but not so very different from $2500, at least in relative terms! then i looked again, and one of the most 'wimpy' looking logos, visually at least, was the World Vision one, which i missed first time through. i've been on their mailing list in the past, and found their mission to care for the basic humanitarian needs of kids worldwide to be something i connected too. food, water, shelter, the things so many millions don't have. things i take for granted. their requirements? just raise $5000 by november 1st, and pay your own late entry fee of $525.

i felt drawn to them strongly, but the $5k hurdle was just too daunting. so i applied for team 'hole in the wall gang' and was put on their waiting list, and told i'd probably be in by next week. scary, exciting, and intimidating! then i emailed another friend, telling her of the 5k vs 3k dilemma, and told her what i'd done. she replied immediately and positively telling me that despite the 'price' tag, world vision was what she thought fit the best, and that i'd be amazed by what god could do. i sat on pins and needles, and then realized something. what i think is the answer to the question about what God thinks.

the running isn't mine, it's god's. he's blessed it, enabled it, and enjoyed it along with me. but making it all mine? not cool. it's his. and raising 5k to help feed and shelter incredibly needy kids? also his. his kids, his money, his deal. and in my mind, it makes the whole running thing shift over if i do it for worldvision.

so i am. i applied, was accepted, took myself of the team hole in the wall waiting list, and started shaking. it means i'm signed up to run, a shake-worthy event after 2.5 years of hoping and 17 months of running and some inkling of what training i still have to do. it also means i have to raise $5525 dollars, or have it come out of my bank account in November, and that is equally shake-worthy. joy and terror at the same time, a feeling i'm a bit familiar with. it makes my running take on a new meaning, and adds a lot to my enjoyment. i did 12 miles this morning in the heat and sun, running from battery park up to 77th and back, while Opa watched my boys.

it felt great ... i'm on my way :). prayers certainly appreciated, and donation buttons will of course pop up once i get more info. i've got some other ideas on how to raise some of it, but will start with that for now. i'm SO looking forward to it!

i have this bad habit ...

I thrive on accomplishment. Finishing things. Been down this road before .... and I don't seem to get it. When I have things that start to go 'wrong' (ie not the way I planned or expected), instead of backing off, I not only go full steam ahead into trying to solve them, I add other things to the mix in the hopes that at least one of them will get done! Witness today, the 'red letter day' which quickly fell apart. The laptop turned out to have (i believe) a bad sector in the HD, which I managed to wipe and start a clean install of the OS, but have hit snags 3x now which I suspect is as far as I'm going to get. Why I even touched that thing today, with a web project, a paying design client issue, a playdate, mountains of laundry, and an untouched newsletter I don't know.

When it started going wrong ... I added potty training Fynn into the day, as well as answering some emails, surfing for new laptops, sending out more subletting ads, cutting up snacks and mediating disputes, speed-tidying the house to take pics to send to interested subletters, and ... you get the idea. The computer and the potty training should have been left far behind, but no.

Fynn is ready, it's true ... and did manage to pee in the pot twice before he had 3 accidents (and i'm still wondering where the poop is, though it's possible that what was smeared on his ankle and butt was truly all that there was ... here's hoping!). I'm pretty thankful for hardwood floors at this point.

The thing that capped it off was finding out that I didn't get into the marathon by the lottery system, and if I want to run this year I'll have to do it for charity, and raise $2500. I don't think I can keep up the training for another year, don't even know where we'll be living a year from now, and so will very likely be doing the dreaded 'ask for donations' thing in the very near future. I hate doing so, but if I'm to run that's the only way that I can see.

A great day!

I did it! My first half marathon today, and I enjoyed it to the hilt. P came to watch the boys, and arrived last night as I had to leave early. My ankle was bothering me again so i massaged it a lot, stretched, etc last night. I woke up a 1am from a sound sleep due to severe pain in my ankle, and was too tired to really worry about it. I massaged some oils into it to increase the blood flow and then went back to sleep. I was up at 6, ate, showered, worried, wrapped, dressed, double checked, packed, and left to walk ways to the train. Ended up having to take a shuttle train as the one I needed didn't go all the way, but made it in plenty of time along with tons of other runners. It started on the Coney Island boardwalk and the start was smoother and faster than in previous races. Partly as I discovered later because there were only about 5400 runners.

The first 3 miles were up/down the boardwalk, which is quite uneven, has some sand piles, and a great view of the ocean and all the kitch that is the boardwalk like Nathan's Famous hot dogs, the NY Aquarium, and Deno's Wonder Wheel. The coolest part of that first stretch was the turnaround at the end, meaning you got to see everyone running ahead of you and behind you, which I loved. Aside from my nervousness before the race about getting the right combo of clothes (it was damp 50's with possible rain) I felt great. By the time the race started I knew I'd be fine and not too cold or hot.

I had no trouble finding my own pace/groove as there was loads of room, especially on the 2nd stretch of 6 miles up Ocean Parkway. A few people here/there cheering, lots of shabbat-service bound jews who had to dodge across the runners, and lots of trios of power-walking-italian-american-moms out chatting up a storm. It all seemed almost too easy, and by the time I hit the halfway point and felt great I knew all was good. Once into Prospect Park I picked up the pace as I run that route several times a week and know it like the back of my hand. I burned a wee bit too much energy and slowed a little for mile 11, but was back on track to the finish. Except for the 3 minute pit-stop (there were lines!) as I still can't seem to get thru anything but a short race without stopping. Blame it on having babies, nerves, tofu the day before, whatever ... I still had to stop.

My final time was 2:07 and change (my watch doesn't exactly match the official clock but is within seconds) and while I'd dreamed of making it in 2 even, I knew that was a dream and not really possible if I didn't kick up the pace the entire time. I resolved to enjoy it immensely, which I did, and to give it all I had in the last 4 miles, which I also did.

I came home on a runner's high of course, showered and nibbled a bit and drank a ton, backpacked Fynn while D and P and I went to the farmer's market, then home to put a shrieking Fynn to bed. Chatted with P till late afternoon, went out with the boys for pizza and a messy gyro, then carried a screaming Fynn home (he wanted to ride on my shoulders, I said no as I'm super tired/sore and P had given me a massage before she left) and let him lie on my bed and scream for another 30 minutes before he calmed down and said please could he get down. I think he's hit the 'terrible' 2's as that was an extended repeat of yesterday morning. I SO don't relish this stage, and today wasn't the day to be too demanding of mom. I'm afraid bedtime was a rapid affair, and none too soon for me.

I go to soak in the tub, hopefully not fall asleep in said tub, and then sleep soundly for many many hours.


things have settled down a bit, at least emotionally. i distracted myself well today, resulting in some feelings of accomplishment at least!

michael got a new website. at last!! i designed his last one for a birthday gift about 7 years ago I think? it's still hidden here for a few more days, but that will disappear soon. getting the journal properly ported over was easy, but getting the links fixed? ugh! between his penchant for naming files with lots of spaces, and the different ways he uploaded photos (and my lack of forethought) it was rather a pain. holler if you find anything missing or mucked up! he loves getting comments of course :) he's off at the studio again to work on getting stuff together for the show, I'm sure I'll be throwing together a postcard tomorrow as soon as he gets pics to me and approval from the gallery owner.

side note: watching the academy awards out of my left eye, and so far my favorites rock! marketa and glen are singing falling slowly (a bit dressed up, but the same thrashed guitar :), and marion cotillard just won best actress for her amazing portrayal of edith piaf in la vie en rose, a movie i loved. michael sang an edith piaf song at our wedding. fabulous movie too. hoping the once crew gets it for best song. (edited to add ... they did :)

ran again today, as well as a thirty minute speed run on the treadmill yesterday (after taking forever to figure out how to work the thing!) did 5.5 miles despite a lack of sleep and the most draining day of my period :). felt good. really good in fact, that i wasn't totally drained in the end, but still had energy and could have gone a lot farther. never could have said that even 2 months ago.

distractions can be good. i still have things to figure out. the fact that the finances are rather it the toilet isn't helping the overall stress levels, and is rather testing my faith at the moment.

The weekend

It was a good one. A long one. And an exhausting one.

Saturday I took D to a birthday party for one of his classmates, who recently moved out to the boonies (read: the very last stop on the subway that goes out into Queens near JFK). It was to start at 12, and as most kiddie parties are 1.5 to 2 hours long I did my best to arrive on time. We got there at 12:15 after a mad morning scramble to get the farmers' market shopping done, as well as buy and wrap a gift.

We were the first arrivals, and the mom was adding balloons to a perfectly 'manicured' and decorated apartment. I mean decorated ... every doorway, ceiling, table, and surface was either spotlessly clean, or covered with pink princess stuff. M, the birthday girl, was in a cute princess dress and had her hair done up. Her 3-year-0ld brother was also dressed up, and D was in his "Ape that lives in a canyon" costume, complete with cape, beaded collar, belt, and light saber. I'm sorry I failed to document it, it was pretty good though I have no idea how an ape comes into it! They settled down right away to room showing, trains, and lego. The mom had vast pots of homemade soup on the stove, just in case people came in cold. I had some, along with samples from the huge chip trays and grape platter.

As she rushed in/out bringing an ice cream cake, more pop, pies, and who knows what else, a few more kids/moms trickled in. Four other kids from their class were soon running up/down the hallway and getting underfoot. The mom continued to rush around, and eventually disappeared to take a shower. By the time she got out and dressed, paid for the 6 pizzas that were delivered, made a salad, cranked up super-loud techno music and turned on the gigantic flat-panel TV, the party appeared to be underway. It was 1:45pm, about when I'd expected to be gathering coats to leave!

The women kind of gathered around the kitchen and she commenced to share the sordid tale, in great detail, of her recently-separated husband and his exploits and habits, along with his total lack of interest in the kids. There were two other single moms in the group, so the discussion was lively and full of advice and sympathy. She's a super over-achiever in my book, but I can really relate in some ways. She's Cambodian, and says that it's truly cultural to take care of every little thing possible for your spouse and kids, treating them like kings. She'd done this for nine years, along with providing financially for everything. She leaves her house at about the time my boys wake up in the morning, takes a train and bus and walks to deliver kids to school and a sitter, takes the train into the city for work, and repeats it in reverse at night, arriving home somewhere after 7pm. Then the whole homework/dinner/housework routine.

I was exhausted listening to her, and felt sympathy. I also felt it a bit of a wakeup call as to my own overachieving tendencies, or desire to have it ALL thank you very much.

More people arrived around 3, the cake was FINALLY cut and devoured at 4:30, and we caught a ride home from friends in the neighborhood. My ears were a bit worn out between the music and the talking, and I was ready to crash.

Before I crashed, I sent M to the studio to work on his art overnight, and asked that he get home in time for me to run Sunday afternoon, and then have a date.

Sunday when he got home I was napping, and feeling sniffly and tired still. I tried hard to find excuses to not go running, but eventually ran out of viable ones and got out the door. I'm finding the statement that long-distance running is more than 50% a mental game to be very very true. The negative self-talk that springs up is amazingly consistent! How can I possibly run any farther than last week? What if it makes me sick? My ankle hurts. I'll get stuck too far away from home and be too tired to walk back. I'll have to use the bathroom too many times. I'll get dehydrated and the fountains aren't on ... yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea.

I escaped, started my run, and talked myself through about 40 little points of wanting to quit or give up, and ended up getting in 9.5 miles in 1:32. The thought of running for over an hour and a half was so laughable just 4 months ago that it's hard to imagine. That was more than 1/3 of a marathon :). It felt absolutely wonderful.

Then the day was capped off with a date with my husband, including a visit to his studio (first time in over a year I think), getting to see his latest painting that's about our relationship, some fabulous sushi, a visit to our old roommate S in the east Village, and then a 2.5 mile long hunt, at midnight, for the crab rangoon that I was craving. We passed umpteen japanese restaurants, McD's, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks that were still open, but not one single chinese joint. And we went thru the village, circled Union Square, and up as far as 20th street. Go figure. I sadly settled for some horrible Taco Bell (scary at 1am with a girl puking in the garbage bin and a *really* horrible bathroom. We ended up with a cab home as I was literally staggering with exhaustion by that point.

A good weekend :)

weekend realizations

i can, indeed, run farther than ever before, 7.5 miles to be exact

i'm angry a lot of the time, and it makes me tired

i don't know what i'm really angry about, or why it's there. things i can't accept? tired of struggling financially? nothing is very clear, except the simmering anger

being angry is bad for me and my family, and needs to go away

running makes me tired, in a way that makes me feel i've earned something

my husband can indeed get tired of my anger, and hang up on me

i miss 'dressing up' for meeting

i feel perpetually caught between wanting to enjoy my kids and the pressure to make money


while I'm currently rather ambivalent about sundays in general, and haven't resolved how I feel about them or how to spend them, i did something today that made my day. i determined to get a long run in as M was home with the kids (he worked yesterday), despite the fact that it was my 4th day in a row running. i've been trying to run at least 4x a week, preferably 5, and do pushups/situps 1 or 2x a week. so far so good, though rarely running more than 2.5.

so today i went out around noon and felt like lead, having eaten a big and yummy omelet at 9 or so. first mile and a quarter was really tough, so i kept heading away from the house rather than zig/zagging like I often do. i went straight to prospect park, and decided I could do a lap before running out of steam. it's 1.4 miles there, and 3 per lap. i made it around, decided to get back to the road that leads home, and then realized it was half downhill so i kept going. then by the time it was uphill, i realized I could make 6 miles in just a few more blocks, so I did. felt really really good, though i'll be sore tomorrow.

do that 4.5 more times without stopping and i'll get thru a marathon!

the fellowship part ... what i realized last week (from the movie) was that i needed to run with other people. the energy i got from being in a park full of runners and bikers was huge, and made it much much easier to just keep going.

Whew ...

It's over, I'm elated, getting over being exhausted, and can't wait to do it again! The race, that is. I was an absolute nervous wreck the night before. Really. I mean the can't sleep, lying in bed shaking, tossing, muttering kind of wreck. I think I fell asleep around 5am, and had to get up at 6. We had a minivan coming at 6:30 to take all the stuff to the park. A LOT of stuff. Tables, boxes of goodie bags (they were heavy!!), carton of t-shirts, food, water, giant easel signs, traffic cones, orange barricade posts/weights, etc ... the list goes on. We got it all crammed into the van, except the cart full of cones/chalk/arrows, which was to mark out the course in the winding park. I pushed the cart to the park while M and the van took the load, dropping all the stuff at the edge of the park. I needed a few minutes to cool my head. Wet head actually, setting me up for freezing later on.

Lesson one in Not-to-do-ever-agains? Get the vehicle-permit for the park, no matter what! It's a separate permit, and one thing I didn't do because of time/money, but regret. Carrying everything in/over the wall and up into the park, both directions, was a HUGE pain. Of course I had no idea how much stuff there'd end up being. Pictures you ask? Ah, pictures. Hah. The camera battery died when I tried to take the first one, the backup battery no longer holds a charge apparently, and the friend with a camera that was to show up couldn't as her son woke up with pinkeye. So, NO pics whatsoever, though there is a bit of video. Maybe I can grab some stills from that.

So we (M and I) got it all into the park by 7:15 or so. Registration opened at 8, and we had to get it set up, as well as the course marked. One friend was arriving at 7:30 to help (thanks C!) and Steph was already at our place, up watching the boys until Opa arrived at 7, and she was off with the wagon to pick up the donated bagels from 2 places, apples and yoghurt drinks from the greenmarket, and coffee/hot water from the bagel shop. She ran herself ragged, getting it all to the park by 8:30 or so. Meanwhile M and I ran around marking the course. This involved chalk lines/arrows/cones to make sure people took the right course at each turn, and when the course stretched over 3/4 of a mile, it took a long time! I abandoned him to finish on his own close to 8, and went to take over registration setup.

By this time my aunt/uncle/friend S had arrived, and were helping get things going. Someone had already come to register while I was away, so I scrambled for the numbers/charts/pins/maps and so on, only to discover the bag with all that in it was missing!! M and I had been carrying it around while marking the course and no longer had it. It could have been anywhere in the park! A parks person had mentioned to C that she'd seen one up the hill, was it ours? My aunt went to find it, did thank God, and brought it back to my frantic hands. I fumbled in the freezing cold for all the stuff, raffle tickets, pens that didn't work in the cold, and so on, and finally managed to register the kid.

It was nonstop from there, getting the registration thing down (thanks to S showing up and handing out pins, numbers, maps, and t-shirts) and getting people ready to go. We had about as many walk-ups as no-shows, making it an even 30 people. It would have been 31, but Steph was too run ragged to actually run the course! Somewhere in there someone handed me a cup of tea and a cut-up apple, the first sustenance of any kind in my morning. I was sitting there shaking with cold, having worn nothing but a t-shirt under my jacket, and with wet hair pinned up on my head. Fynn/D/Opa arrived around 8:30 also, and were fine for the first bit, but then Fynn started screaming bloody murder. Bad mom failed to notice his freezing hands, tried to backpack him but his screaming was so loud it was almost impossible to think. Carrying in my arms didn't work either.

I managed to give the 10 minute warning at about 9am, after checking with Michael to make sure he'd be done marking by then, as it had turned out to be a hugely long job for one person, cart and all. Bless the man! "Managed to give" means I used the bullhorn for the first time in my life! Why I had such a hangup I do not know, but I did. I didn't want anyone but the ppl right around me to hear, and knew it would carry further than that. Has something to do with the fact that I mostly hate to be the center of attention, but part of me loves it. Go figure.

Got everyone up to the starting line, which just so happened to be 20 yards away from a PUPS event (read: many many people with many many dogs) that I didn't know would be there that day. Yay, more audience for the Bullhorn Malfunction! Harvey was holding it for me (heavy thing, and I was shaking a bit and standing up on a bench) and he pressed what he thought was the On button, only to discover it was the siren. Michael insisted you just had to 'let it run out' and so it went for several cycles. Turn it off. Michael insists. Repeat. Finally the two males figure it out, give me the microphone, Michael draws a starting line (the one line neglected to be drawn, though there was a sign) and I send them off!

Given the 3k route, I knew I'd have only about 11 minutes before the first person arrived. More scrambling for medals, shuffling a screaming Fynn, hunting high and low for the missing finish-line tape, and end up substituting a roll of raffle tickets instead. The tape was later discovered in Douglas' pocket, as he 'really liked it'. :) The first runner in was a HS student. I forgot to mention I'd invited the track team from the HS across the street to come, for free, and they'd be eligible for prizes but not t-shirts, etc. The first 4 or 5 finishers were the kids, and they all refused to take the awards! No medals, no dinner gift certificates, nada. Just said they were there to support the effort, and a couple even handed me a few dollars to put towards the charity. Nice kids!! and a dream to have there.

There weren't a lot of cheering fans, but we made the noise we could, and the stroller race ended in a deliberate tie :). Medals were handed out, awards announced, and the raffle items raffled. Thankfully one of the HS kids won the 6-month Crunch Fitness membership, which helped even things out a wee bit, and I dug out enough t-shirts for them all.

It was such a nice bunch of people, both runners and helpers, and I couldn't ask for more. Sunny (freezing!) weather. Enthusiastic and grateful runners, and no major issues. The Kiddie race ended up being just 3 kids (I had about 12 expected, but the cold probably kept them away) and one girl fell and skinned her knee. Douglas was super proud of his medal (they all got them) but wanted to know yesterday why the kids all got medals, but not the adults :)

I can't wait to do it again. We raised $760 for charity, had an angel cover the cost of the t-shirts and equipment rental, and spent enough of our own money to call it a good marketing effort.

Day 4 - Blissful Exhaustion

It was the longest day ever, and not just because 2am came twice thanks to Daylight Savings Time. It was the NYC Marathon today, and as I didn't get in to run, I volunteered. This meant getting up just before 2am (the 2nd one) but I was so paranoid about the time change, oversleeping, and being late, that I was more or less up from 1am (and went to bed around 10.). I dressed in my many layers, grabbed a banana and took off for the upper east side.

I arrived early, begged my way into the NYRR headquarters to pee, and then got my credentials, wimpy bagged breakfast, and hopped on the bus ... by 4am. There were about 80 of us I think that came that way, and hundreds more that arrived some other way. We were dropped at the starting line area 45 min later, in pitch black, with music blaring and crews frantically assembling bleachers, tents, and so on. It was rather like a mini olympic village, minus the housing, with 'camping' grounds instead in color-coded areas. After some chaotic shuffling and hard-to-hear directions, 10 of us were assigned to pass out bagels in the orange section. As this was one of three areas, and we passed out most of 3 pallets of bagels (about 40 boxes on each pallet with 70 or so in each box) you get a vague sense of the quantity of people milling about.

It started with just a few early souls, with their blankets, heat wraps, huddled on the ground trying to get in a bit of rest. As the sun gradually came up and and the busloads started to arrive in earnest, it was more chaotic. Constant directions being asked, banter from 2 of the people working next to me, and a permanent grin on my face. I SO enjoyed it that I couldn't help smiling crazily, despite the fact that my hands were frozen, I'd been on my feet for hours, and wished I were running instead of bagel tossing. It was a fascinating mix of people, in all mental states from utterly relaxed and having a ball to so nervous they couldn't look you in the eye or think about eating.

As the hours marched on (we arrived at 5, the general start was 10:20) people gradually got more focused and intent. Due to some crazy woman in charge of something, several of us were suddenly yanked from bagel world and had to run to the starting line (a long way away thru insane crowds) as she said we'd miss the bus back to the finish. Oh, right ... the main reason I volunteered for the early shift ... it involved a bus back to the finish line and free bleacher passes! woohoo ... I've wanted to see the finish in person for years. She was wrong, the buses weren't leaving for an hour, so we were put on duty corraling the runners in their lanes as they started ... another plum assignment in my book.

Aside from the order and relaxation of the start itself (3 separate start areas, each one letting people go in groups of 1000 at a time) the most amazing part was the trash. By this I mean the clothes strewn EVERYwhere, on the road, fences, under the buses ... it was really chilly still, but once out in the sun and on the starting line, they tossed whatever extra layers they were wearing. When our bus finally did leave (another sudden yank from the start corral, before we were finished) it was plowing through wads of clothes. I'm told they get gathered for charity ... I hope so, there were thousands.

Our bus caravan was escorted by the cops over the bridge, paralleling the route for a bit, and then up the west side to the finish area. We got there in time to get seats and see the male and female winners cross the finish line. I was cheering loudly for Paula Radcliffe from England who won, as I knew she'd had a baby in the last year and I was insanely impressed by that. She won, grabbed her 9 month old from her husband, and did her victory 'lap' down the stands. Go mama!

I could go on but it's 10pm and I'm falling over. Needless to say it was, once again, tremendously inspiring to see, and makes me more than ever want to do it. If a 74 year old woman could finish it in under 4 hours, I could at least finish it I think?!

One last thing ... the costumes. It looked like hallowe'en at times. Just a few I saw ... a towering lighthouse headpiece, chewbacca and Yoda (full masks, fur, etc.), kilts, superman, sponge bob, hotdog hats, many statue of liberty headbands, facepaint galore, bras and shorts, some dutch-looking polkadot mini dress on a male and female both, wigs, feathers ... you get the idea. It was about fun and just doing it, and the energy and adrenaline flowing around was incredible. I could quote/dribble statistics for hours as they fascinate me, but I'll stop with just one. More than 17 thousand of the runners had never run a marathon before. I better be part of that stat next year!

I crash.

ps ... no pics due to no camera, some to be e-mailed from a girl I met.

I ran a 10k this morning

And it left me feeling fabulous. All day. I have a nice blister to show for it, tense shoulders, and likely some very sore muscles tomorrow. The story is here if you want more.

Anyone want to come run the next one with me? There's a 4 miler next weekend. The only thing really slowing me down from signing up for more this summer is the fact that I have to find a sitter every time as M is working every single Saturday the rest of the summer. That kinds sucks for more than just that reason, but we're dealing.

So I don't harp on it ad nauseum ...

... I've started another blog for marathon stuff. It's as much a training record as anything, but it helps me track my progress. The more I talk about it, the more I feel accountable to make good on my promise to run in November. Back to my regularly scheduled grumbling, or whatever it is that I do.

benefits of getting up and out at 6:45 am

: seeing a squirrel snacking out of a garbage can
: seeing the sunrise reflected on the Williamsburg Savings Bank facade
: finding sheet ice on my usual path, and discovering a new one
: realizing that i've already made progress, and can run 25 min nonstop, not bad for starting out 2.5 weeks ago and only going 5 minutes. (I'm sure the temp rise had nothing to do with it)
: getting home at my normal wake-up time and having tons of energy
: just plain feeling good ;)
: realizing just how many things will have to change in the next few months to actually pull off a marathon in November. so many habits like bedtimes and food consumption (or lack thereof), backup from M, some weekends, every trip, etc ...
: coming home and having husband who agrees to said 'backups' and doesn't complain at having had a screaming baby for 30 minutes of my time out. admittedly his brain was too foggy to figure out that it was indeed time for Fynn to get up, and thaw a bottle ... we learn :)


just ordered this and am contemplating this though I'm finding it cheaper on ebay.


i think i'm actually serious about this whole thing. feels good to my bones.

upon my statement that I intend to run the nyc marathon this fall ...

from a friend who's run it before ...
You need to get to the point of running five miles a day, five times a
week no later than May. Every two weeks you run a "long" round, starting
at 10 miles and increasing by 2 miles:

May: 10
June: 12, 14
July: 16, 18
August: 20, 22
September: 22, 22
October: 22, 22

There is no need to run more than 22 miles. Marathon distance bears a
real risk of injury.

I can do it, I know ... the trick is committing the time to it.

I ran this morning, despite the frigid cold and the absence of any other runners, who were most likely running indoors ... slow, yes ... 5 miles, no ... but I made it a point to get out and do it no matter what.

I'll be doing a lot of that if I'm to succeed.