Mommy in Pieces

Just a mom that wears a cape under her street clothes.

Archive for the category “race”

Every Day I’m Hustlin’

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We have made it through the first 10 days of the year! How ya’ll feeling? It feels like it flew.. Next thing you know we will be rolling up our sleeves to dig into February. Heck, the stores already have the pink and white going for Valentine’s Day! My Christmas decorations just barely got to storage!

We are about 1/36th the way through the year. Now it doesn’t feel like so much! There is still a lot of year to be had!

January has brought a lot of new things to my calendar in the form of challenges. I am involved with 3 and I love that they are all tied together with a wonderful thread of continuity.

The first challenge is hosted by one of my favorite authors and social media gurus, Jon Acuff. I am participating in his 30 Days of Hustle project. Combine the power of social media, good will, and proper goal setting, and you get 30 days of amazing stories, new personal connections from around the world, and amazing goal completion. People’s goals are varied; some related to their avocations and some to their vocations, health, running, family togetherness. But the common core of all of them is improvement. It is an amazing community to check in with each day and got my spiritual tank topped off, while restoring my faith in the humanity that swells around us.

My goal for these 30 days is very simple: run 30 miles. Sounds simple enough! I am coming off of post race blues and some difficulty with my IT Band. I had not run since Thanksgiving Day when I ran my worst race ever. It was time to pick myself up, dust off the kicks, and get the rubber to the road. If I ran 3 times a week and averaged 2.27 miles per run, I would meet my goal……

Introducing Challenge #2: Another Mother Runner‘s Mother’s Day Challenge!  This challenge begins on Monday the 13th!  A group of really amazing women have all come together virtually to train for a 10k or a 1/2 Marathon.  I have chosen to tackle my 2nd Half Marathon.  I will be taking part in the Long Island Half Marathon on May 4, 2014.  The course for this race will be very similar to the course that I ran for my first Half Marathon.  I will be attempting to improve my time from the first race.  It is going to be a long, uphill battle to get back up to running that distance again and I will need to be working on improving the rest of me along the way and to help me meet that goal…..

Introducing Challenge #3: The Perfect Pair Kettlebell Challenge  Thanks to the evil genius at Kettlebellworkouts.com , I will be spending some major quality time with my 10lb.s kettlebell and my yoga mat.  With consecutive ladders or kettlebell swings and push ups, my arms and core will be getting the same torturous treatment that my leg are getting!

 

I have a feeling that my body, mind, and soul are going to get a major workout!!!

The Running of the Divas

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I can’t believe that I have let so much time pass since crossing the finish line.  It still seems like a dream to me.

The whole experience of preparing and completing the race was really amazing!  However, I am pretty sure the part that made it the best was the bonus of a reunion 19 years in the making.  I was blessed with being joined my one of my running heroes!!  Shauna and I went to elementary and middle school together.  We were on the same school bus, but we were in different social groups.  Even at that early age, she was already a force to be reckoned with!  Shauna was on cross country and already a very active kid.  I on the other hand was I was the total opposite.

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Fast forward 19 years to the age of technology where friendships are built from curious searches on Facebook.  Shauna was still an avid runner and adventure seeker and I was just discovering the world.  She had faith in me that I could accomplish my goal and she promised to help!  Thus was born the idea of completed the Diva’s Half Marathon together!

I in fact completed my first half marathon!  I wouldn’t say that I “ran” it, but I participated and crossed the finish line before the course was closed.  And the big bonus of the day, I WASN’T LAST!  There were actually 114 people behind me!!

  The whole day couldn’t not have gone more smoothly!!!  We both got up on time and went through our pre-race routines.  We geared up and enjoyed breakfast in the car on the way.  Thankfully we were less than 10 mins from the start line, so leaving early to get good parking was no issue.  We had no problem getting a spot very close to the finish line.  It was cool but humid with a heavy mist in the air that we hoped would burn off as the sun awoke.  There was such energy in the air, a buzz and a shimmer to every little thing.

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The morning’s schedule had three waves of 5K runners taking off first, so we wandered down to the start line to watch and get caught up in the excitement.  There were tutus and costumes EVERYWHERE and the people that were not dolled up looked a bit out of place.  It was so exciting to be in a place that didn’t take itself too seriously.

Lining up, getting ready, it was all an out of body experience.  There were hundreds of people between us and the start line, but it didn’t take us very long to get there, and we were on our way!  The first couple of miles seemed to melt away as I shook out the stiffness and my muscles remembered what we were here to do.  There was one spot that we would pass 3 times and my boys had come to cheer us on!  It seemed like every time I started to wane, there would be a water stop with a DJ and cheerleaders that would bring the energy back up.  Watching for where my personal cheerleaders would be hiding helped to make the time pass also.  Each time we passed the boys they would yell out for mommy and wave and the love I felt from them pushed me on and on.

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There was a surprise around mile 8, when my coworker Diane rode by on her bike!!!  She had been riding the course looking for us!  She stayed with us for about a half mile and then went off to meet us at the finish!

It was such a strange sensation to be running on the roads that I drove to work every day.  Usually congested with commuters rushing, it was peaceful and quiet with only the sound of rubber hitting the pavement and our constant chatter!

In to mile 10 we got a great surprise!!  An unofficial aid station!  There was music; there were men in drag and crazy costumes.  And better yet, there were snacks!!!  A giant bowl of M&Ms and orange slices.  This was such a treat and brought laughter that carried us for another mile.

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Sadly, this was also where I started having trouble.  My knee had decided that it really didn’t want to participate in the completion of this race anymore.  It was really uncomfortable and the walking breaks started to out distance the running sections.  Count my spirit officially broken!  I wanted to finish strong, I wanted to feel like I had “run” the race and it was slipping away from me.  Shauna was so supportive and encouraging.  Each time I despaired, she was right there with a tip or a suggestion.  We hobbled through the tiara station.  I hoped that picking up the bling would give me that extra power.

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It wasn’t until I saw the finish that I was able to reach down and find the oomph to get it down.  Something took over me, and I couldn’t stop.  I am sure that I looked pretty silly barreling towards the end.  But for that short time, I felt graceful, I felt fast, I felt like a runner.

After it was over, there were medals and roses, champagne, and bagels and bananas and cookies!  My official finish time was 3:18:15.  I finished in 1,782nd place out of 1898 participants.  But here is the thing that I know.  I won!  I won MY race.  It didn’t matter what others did out there.  It doesn’t matter that others crossed the finish before me.  They were not running MY race.  I did the best I could for me.  This gives me a benchmark, a place to improve from.  There will be more half marathons in my future, but none will ever compare to my first!946376_10151945233800871_1507853951_n

A huge thanks to me rock and my coach!  Shauna, without you… I wouldn’t have been able to do this.  It was a joy to run your slowest half marathon with you!!!

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The Time Has Come

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     I am just days away from my race, but I am many dollars away from my goal!  Please, please, help me to reach the $1300 goal for the students of Variety Child Learning Center.  This school has truly changed the course of my sons life!

How You Can Help!

It is very easy to help me reach this goal!  There are three ways to donate:

     1.   Donate online In section 4 write in “Variety of Miles”
     2.   Please make Checks out to Variety Child Learning Center and write “Variety of Miles” in the memo field.  Checks can be mailed to:

Variety Child Learning Center
Attn: Development
47 Humphrey Drive
Syosset, NY  11791
 
     3.    Give checks made out to Variety Child Learning Center to me when you see me. ( But please let me know you have one for me!!)
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9 + 1 =


10!!  That’s right… 10!  That’s how many miles were on the training schedule… TEN!!  I know that I am planning in just 3 short weeks to complete 13 miles, but the concept of 10 miles just feels monumental. 
I am blessed to have access to a beautiful bike path.  There are points along the way where I feel transported out of Long Island and to a world with no traffic!  There are wild flowers and swamps, thickets of trees and lakes.  There is one spot along the path that someone has turned a little bluff into a beautiful garden sanctuary.  Running this path has changed my run. I actually enjoy it more. 
Last week I deviated from my running schedule.  On Saturday I conquered the 9 miles, but there was a lot of walking and a lot of wishing the miles away. I was happy when I was done and I was happy with my overall time.  Then on Sunday was the Zombie Race. During the zombie experience I had an epic gravity failure that had me imitating superman down the side of a muddy hill. Thankfully I wasn’t seriously injured besides the bruised ego. At the end of the day I was proudly sporting scrapes and scratches and the promise of some grotesque bruises, but I felt good.  A little ice on my bum knee, a cold beer and I’ll be on my way… Or so I thought. 
By Tuesday morning I could put no weight on my right foot. My middle toe was very red and angry and swollen. My toe nail was black and crack 3/4ths of the way down. I couldn’t help but gaze upon the toe with pride while I painfully attempted a shoe and sock.  The voice of reason stopped me and when office hours rolled around I was on the phone with the podiatrist. 
With most of the nail removed and a promise of quick pain relief to come I hobbled home.  Instead on Wednesday I was greater by continued pain an it was too late to cancel my appointment with Frank the trainer.. Bring on a boxing session with no shoes on!!!
Friday was the first day I could get a sock and shoe on my foot. This made me terrified of Saturday’s run.  I had to just have faith that my 5 days off would be to a benefit. 
I was blessed to have incredible weather on Saturday, 68 and partly sunny. This weather makes it easy to settle into a run.  My three favorite boys dropped me at the trail head and I started off strong with an easy pace.  The boys meet between the 1 and 2 mile mark to wave an watch mommy go by.  I know that between mile 2 and 3 are two of the 5 uphill climbs on the route and they flew by with little notice. Continuing strong past the three mile mark I pushed off fueling as I was still in good shape. Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed almost as easily and when I hit the biggest hill of the whole route, I pushed to the top and kept going.  This was the first time that I hadn’t needed a walk at the top of this very steep overpass.  I was beginning to start to struggle and keep myself from walking and between miles 7 and 8 my hip started to complain.  I was able to pull back the pace a little until and get comfortable again.  I knew as I got towards the end that I would have to do some doubling back to get the 10th mile in.  At 9.1 I was surprised by my boys running towards me!  I love when they find me on the trail because it gives me such a boost!  Ben was so excited to run with me that he made it half a mile!  

The last half mile was the hardest steps of the entire route.  My tank was empty and my motivation was sapped…  but… I finished it!  All 10 miles!  And my reward….. and ice bath!
     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!

30 Days and Second Chances




With less the 30 days to go until race day, my nerves are starting to get to me and not without reason….  The last 30 days have seen 2 races, a lot of triumph and a little set back…

     Lets rewind a bit.  I got sidelined by sickness for almost a week and a half!  I was devastated when I was forced to deviate from the training plan.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t break from the schedule and here I was sitting out for a week and a half.  I worried about about losing fitness.  I worried that I wasnt building my mileage.  I was just all around worried.

     I was also had a race coming up…  the Discover Hicksville 5mile Race.  I knew that my focus had to be on getting healthy so that I wouldn’t miss this race.  I was able to get 3 miles in a couple of days before hand and away we go!  The course was advertised as a “Flat” course.  I was excited for an easy race.

     They offered a free fun run, so the boys got to join in the fun! As soon as they said “GO!”, Ben was GONE!!!  He ran the whole 1/4 mile by himself.  He made all the turns on the course and even waved to some of the people that were cheering!  The best part….  he got to the finish and STOPPED!  We had never told him what a
race was, but he instinctively knew what to do. He finished in less than 3mins and 40secs.  Alex didn’t love the process as much.. he was more upset about the numbers pinned to his shirt and just couldn’t get in to the running part of the race.  Both boys earned medals for their attempt.  For the next two weeks Ben kept asking, “We go race?”  I think I might have a natural runner on my hands.


     My race on the other hand, was not as easy.  The “flat course” was filled with little inclines and declines and there were lots of twists and turns.  It was hard to judge distance and pace.  It was also HOT!  It was a relatively small collection of runners and they were all FAST… I… am SLOW.  I really just didnt want to be last.  I started towards the middle of the pack so I wouldnt be in the way of the contenders, but not at the back because I didnt want to start last!  The end of the course was twisty with a hidden finish.  It was hard to judge from a distance what your finish time would be since you couldnt see the clock until the last 100 meters.  I was stoked when I rounded the corner and I was trudging towards a PR!  My previous best was 1:13:48.  I dug down and found more energy than I thought I had left and sprinted… pushing as much as I could to get to the finish as the seconds ticked away….   1:11:09!!!

      I was thrilled.. my legs were jelly.. and it was done!  However, sprinting and staring at the clock with a race photographer that isn’t sitting at a good angle, makes for a not so pretty race picture…  But hey.. it was a PR!

      Back on track after the 5mile race it was time to shift my focus to getting ready for the longer distances.  It was on to 8miles, and 9miles!  Saturday long runs have become a family event with the boys dropping me off at the beginning of a local bike path and picking me up at the end, usually with dinner in hand!   I was able to push through 8miles and had a surprisingly wonderful 9mile run.  I felt in control.  I did walk a bunch, and I am ok with it.  I know that I will be walking during the 1/2 marathon, so I might as well prepare myself!

     This past weekend, I had my 2nd race…. the Zombie Race.. 3.12 miles of insane trails, 13 muddy and tough obstacles, and ZOMBIES waiting for you around every turn!  The whole experience was epic!  I was able to complete all but one obstacle (the old school rope climb).  One of the hills was so steep that there was a rope tied to a tree to give assistance.. there were walls, and mud pits, slides, and fire..  it was a great test of strength, endurance, and courage…  My unofficial goal was to finish in less time than I had the Spartan race (1:48) and we finished in 1:18!






     Now that I have wrestled with the Zombies, it is time to go back to the mundane..  next up… tomorrow: 10miles and next weekend, the NYC 10k!



     I think more important that the running this week was the decision that I have made to turn this run into a fundraiser.  I will be running to benefit the children of Variety Child Learning Center.  Please check out the info!







Bucket List Realized

A few months ago I was approached by a coworker to join her in running the Spartan Race.  Little did she know that this was a bucket list item.  I was honored but that she wanted to run with me. I didn’t want to admit that I was terrified!!!!

I am no small girl. I have run a few 5k races in the past year, so I really wasn’t worried about the distance.  But…..  There would be WALLS… 5, 6, 7, and 8 foot tall walls…  This girl, would have to find her way over many, many walls…. This would be a feat of epic proportions!

I did the best training that I could (taking into consideration my limited time). I worked on strengthening my upper body. I worked with my trainer using a TRX system.  I worked on body weight exercises. I didn’t train as much as I wanted to, but I did as much as I could.

When it came down to the day of the race, I was very very anxious.  It was one of those do or die moments.  I knew that I was going to have to pull on strength from a very deep place and I was unsure if that place even existed within me.   I knew that I was going to have to rely on the team that I was running with!  There would be obstacles that I would fail if there wasn’t a hand up or a cheering section standing with me!
Upon meeting this great group of people, I knew that I would make it through!  We were all there, joined by a common goal.  This team had come together to fight hunger on Long Island.  There are still so many people in the region feeling the impact of Hurricane Sandy.  We were there to become “Champions Against Hunger”.
Very quickly it was time to line up in the corral… We got closer and closer to the start.  Every minute or so a group of  20 would line up and get released onto the course..soon there were no more people in front of me… I found myself standing at the start line..My inner monologue was waging its very own civil war.  In one moment I was building myself up…  I can do this.. I will succeed.. and in the next…  Are you crazy?.. Do you know where the closest hospital is?….
Once we crossed that start line, it became very surreal… the details jumble together and it felt like a total out of body experience…  There were walls…. Lots of walls…  But there were also feats of strength, lifting, carrying, moving… There were calisthenics… a weighted jump rope, a rowing machine…  Then there were the things that were just crazy!!!  I never thought that I would have to train for hopping up 4 flights of stairs with a rubber band holding my ankles together!!!
But sure enough… each obstacle was conquered… each mile was ticked away.. yes I needed the support of my team… I needed a scoot over a wall… I needed to be pushed to finish the box jumps at the end…  But…. 
I FINISHED….. I conquered the Spartan Race!  I finished in one hour and 48 minutes…  This was not a record setting time.. but there were over 300 people after me!!! 

 I am so thankful to everyone on the Fishbattlers Vs. Sandy team that stuck with me, that served as my strength when I had none, and cheered me on when I felt defeated.  I would not have this medal, and the bruises and body aches too, if it were not for all of you!!!

Below is a video that chronicles the event that was made by the marketing company Fishbat.  They were responsible for putting together the Spartan Race team and have become a driving force against hunger on Long Island.  Please take a couple of minutes to watch!!

See the rest of my Bucket List!!!

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