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Posts Tagged ‘Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’

Twelve days ago I ran the Nike Women’s [Half] Marathon. Remember that race? Have I mentioned it?

Anyways. It was 12 days ago. What have I done since? Well, for starters, I got a massage and sat on my butt for five days. Then, after that, I ran a 10k with my cousin. (Sean of Seanzanne.)

Yeah, not smart. Apparently you need to keep your legs moving if you want them to race for you. Its somewhere in the fine print of the sport… I just overlooked it.

The first three miles were hellish and I felt like my legs were full of cement. But at mile 4ish I loosened up and picked up the pace. Yay for negative splits!

I finished at…

Not great.... but not baaaad!

There was honestly one point in the race that I was completely 100% OK with stopping, walking off the course and Google mapping my way back to the finish line to wait for my cousin.

I didn’t. Obviously. But I wouldn’t feel bad if I had.

So, lesson learned. Don’t stop running. It makes it that much harder.

I also hit up the beach for a run. I havent run the Jones Beach boardwalk in a long time and it was SO REFRESHING. It was the absolute PERFECT combination of sun, breeze and warmth that makes me happy. Like warm fuzzies deep in your soul happy. Everything is perfect when running by the beach on a clear sunny day. EVERYTHING. I’m such a Pisces.

Ok, back to the race. When I ended my recap I declared one more order of business — a THANK YOU.

I don’t know where to start and I know I am going to tear up at some point in trying to say this.

When I asked you all to support my race, I was looking for some financial donations and maybe some running tips. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I needed so much more.

The physical part of training was turned out to be slightly more difficult than I expected but the fundraising was much easier than I expected. That, B&Gs is allll thanks to you.

I asked you to support a good cause that had some personal meaning to me and would make a difference and you all did. You gave me a reason to run and for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

When I say I needed so much more, I am referring to understanding, patience and compromise.  Annnnd here come the tears. 

Thank you for putting up with my “alcohol-free, early-to-bed Friday nights.”

Thank you for tolerating my crankiness while my body adapted to being tortured four days a week and had sleep removed from its daily regimen.

Thank you for adapting the menu when I showed up to dinner with sweet potatoes because “I have a long run in the morning and I need running fuel.”

Thank you for feeding me when I randomly showed up at the house (mom and dad) all sweaty and gross and then proceed to eat everything in sight.

Thank you for understanding why I needed to postpone Friday night pub night for, like, 5 months.

Thank you for listening to me talk about running… alllll the time. I mean, like all the time. I know, I was annoying.

Thank you for asking me about how training is going even though you know its going to start a really long rambling about running.

Thank you for all your FB “likes” and comments on Nike+ to cheer me on during my runs. I honestly get so excited when my iPod cheers for me.

Thank you for the stories about your loved ones that battled Leukemia or Lymphoma. You brought tears to my eyes — and emotion is running fuel.

Thank you for all the articles, links and magazines you passed on with advice.

Thank you for taking care of me when I thought I could still drink two martinis.

Thank you for the tums when my stomach decided to backlash after I decided to jump full into a 300-crunches a day ab workout. (Yeah, I’ve since toned that down…)

Thank you for not commenting on the smells coming from my day-two running shorts.

Thank you for discussing running shoe brands (Brooks rule!!), hydration belts and fuel packets for periods of time much longer than necessary and I ever thought possible.

Thank you for almost always getting my “egg and ham on a scooped out whole wheat bagel” order correct.

Thank you for letting me stay at your apt in the city Friday night so I didn’t have to take a 5:30am train to get to practice on time.

Thank you for always making sure there were lots of carbo-packed sweet treats sitting around the house — and ice cream for the hot days.

Thank you to my coaches for all your help and support. Esp Coach Christine and Coach Wanda. You are both awesome and kinda my idols.

Thank you for dealing with my taper crankiness.

Thank you for going on spontaneous Saturday morning runs with me when I mis-COOCOO the train schedule and miss practice.

Thank you for all the music recommendations. I LOVED my playlist!

Thank you for all your texts and messages DURING the race… they were so much fun to read afterwards.

Thank you for the congratulatory flowers.

Thank you for your generous gifts and cards before the big day. They meant the world to me.

Thank you for letting me, mom and Andrew stay at your house in San Fran and stepping up as lead Marathon Groupie.

Thank you mom and Andrew for coming to San Francisco. I know you didnt really want to have to go there, but you did for me. 🙂 It made me so happy to see you guys there.

See? Sooo excited! Hugs anyone? I'm not THAT sweaty yet!

Thank you for keeping me going. Whenever I felt frustrated and down, someone was there to perk me up, remind me that I was capable of doing whatever it was I wasn’t sure I could do and encourage me to troop on no matter what.

Most of all, thank you for donating to such an amazing cause. LLS provides almost all the funds to help patients get treatment, and they work their butts off to raise money. Like REALLY work their butts off… and some of them run their butts off. lol. Their enthusiasm made me want to work all that much harder.

It took me a while to get to this entry because I didn’t feel confident that I could express the emotion that goes along with what I wanted to say. Now, reading this, I realize I am still not capable of expressing my gratitude. This sucks.

But I honestly don’t know if its possible, so I am going to give you these words for now… and maybe I’ll try again soon. (Saaaaay, with baked goods?)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I wish I could hug you all at once.

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Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to be careful running around or you’d “fall and break your neck?”

It actually happens. A few weeks ago my grandma fell and broke her neck. She definitely wasn’t running around, more like walking or standing, but the end result is the same.

Fractured vertebra!

Ouch!

She spent a few days in the hospital and is now in a nursing home rehab. She has to wear a neck brace that she hates and is always, as she says, “just falling off.”

Grandma is 92. She also has dementia meaning a lot of the times she doesn’t know who we are and often tells us about how she entertained, cooked and danced the day away. What a nursing home, eh? One big party!

Rarely does she know who I am when I visit, often referring to me as my mom. I’m too young; she lives in a time long ago when her and my grandpa traveled the world, went square dancing a few times a week and my grandpa ran half-marathons. And there you were thinking “Wait, no running connection?”

My grandparents have been married for 67 years.

67 YEARS! That is a looooong time.

I admit, with embarrassment, that I didn’t get to know them as well as I wish I had growing up. But like all good couples, grandpa complements grandma with memories of the old days clearer than mine are from yesterday. I did NOT get my poor memory from him.

He loves the story about when he was in the airforce and they had their first child, my uncle, without a penny to their name out in Colorado. Grandma had to take Amtrak back to NY herself with an infant when grandpa got stationed elsewhere. Maybe that’s where my love for traveling across countries comes from. He talks about his career in the fire department. He talks about his bout with alcoholism and the subsequent decades in AA and all the friends he made as a result. But what he talks about most of all, and the one consistent in all his stories, is grandma.

“I knew right away she was the one for me. Sure I’d dated other girls but as soon as I met her, I knew she was it,” he told me during one of our hospital visits. “Course she didn’t think the same thing. She was dating like three other guys. (Grandma was/is a big flirt!) Finally I told her to make a decision.

But I knew right away… have you ever felt that way about a guy?”

“Ummm, I’m single grandpa.”

He shrugged and smirked.

According to my grandpa, grandma got him off the couch. Perfectly content to sit around and watch TV, grandma encouraged him to go dancing with her and to travel the world.

“She gave me a life,” he is always saying.

She is that type of person. Even with a broken neck and her mind hanging out anywhere between 1919 and Roosevelt’s presidency, she’s still smiling, flirting with young doctors, making wise arse remarks in response to everything she hears, laughing at her nursing-home housemates and sharing nothing but happy memories — even if it does become a game for us to guess what time period and who she’s speaking about.

Grandpa also reminds us how lucky he feels to have had her stick by him when his favorite pastime was alcohol.

“She could have, and rightly at times should have, walked away. I wasn’t nice.”

But she didn’t. Instead she stuck around to see him drop drinking like it was hot, buy a pair of running shoes and cheer him on through his first half-marathon.

And his second for that matter.

Grandma and Grandpa after his first marathon!

My grandpa took up running when he was in his 60s. And here I am complaining about my 29-year-old aches and pains? He just ran for fun, to have something positive to indulge in; he wasn’t out to set any records or race. But he did. He ran 13.1 miles… Twice!

I always knew this about my grandpa, I remember watching him run past the end of our block during the Long Island Half-Marathon when I was a wee-youngin’. He also talks about after the run: A lot of the guys were going off to celebrate with a beer, which Grandpa was obviously not feelin’. My dad offered him a BBQ and it made his day. ha. In our house a good BBQ’d burger has always been the key to happiness.

I love that my grandpa ran. I love that someone in my family loved something that I love. I love that when I talk about a runner’s high, his eyes light up.

He seems to like it too. During dinner one night a couple months ago, he went through all the tips he could think of.

Start slow, save your energy. 

Make sure you stretch.

Do you have good shoes? You need good shoes.

What are you eating? I always liked to eat a piece of toast with peanut butter. (or something like that)

I had told him I had numerous coaches teaching me the ins and outs of running without catastrophe, but he obviously knew better. I mean, he is 92, dont all 92-year-olds know best? So I listened and thanked him and told him stories about my coaches and the runs I had completed so far.

I saw him the weekend I ran my first 10-miler… the Jackrabbit race. He was very proud. It was cute.

My grandparents are another reason I am running. Grandpa did it — in his 60s nonetheless — so I want to do it too. And even though Grandma wasn’t pounding pavement with him, she guided him through life. Sixty-seven years together and they are still 100% in love with each other. Grandma’s dementia sometimes thinks there are two grandpas — which grandpa uses to his advantage blaming the not-so-good dinners on “the other guy” — but in her heart, he’s the only one that’s ever been there. He’s the one that makes her light up like she’s a 20-something year old in love for the first time.

And he still looks at her like a 20-something year old who found “the one.”

She goes home again the day after I run. Until then, they meet in the nursing home, try to hear each other's stories and and hold hands like they're on their first date.

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To focus on a non-running topic, it’s trade show season! What does that mean? It means I am presented with opportunity after opportunity to live out of a suitcase and rack up frequent flyer miles to attend trade shows and press conferences.

Fact: I do not know how to say “no” to anything that involves an airplane. (Let’s face it, I rarely say “no” to anything. Take that as you wish.)

The social side of business trips is awesome — check out new city (and its restaurants). However, despite the fun stuff, I happen to really like attending trade shows. They are jam-packed full of enthusiasm and passion. It’s a wave of positivity… and these are a few of my favorite things. Everyone attending loves their product and wants to demonstrate it, shove it in your mouth or give you some to take home.

What’s not to love? Seriously?

Wearing a press badge gets you lots of attention! I came home from last week’s show in Baltimore with all-natural whitening keylime-flavored toothpaste, an awesome baby gift idea that I can’t share in case my cousin reads this, herbal female and male sexual enhancement pills (they were thrown at me; apparently I look like I need them), caffeinated gum that I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to, more gummy vitamins than I’ll eat in a year and heartburn from the [supposed] all-natural chicken sliders and the [supposed] gluten-free pizza samples I devoured for lunch. Oops.

On the social side, I did get to check out Baltimore on foot.

Ok, I am gonna talk about running. I can’t help it!

I was in a new city. What better way to see a new city than on foot? And with less than three weeks to go, I cant afford not to let travel interfere with my training momentum. So I left the show promptly and took off to explore, with my Brooks Adrenaline 11s as my tour guide. Though I probably should have signed up for the Brooks/Pepper Spray tour in hindsight. There are some SKETCHY areas of B-more.

I found the inner harbor and it was as pretty as I’d been told.

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I was looking for sailors... and I all I found was a big boat!

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I LOVE B&Ns... they offer a happy place wherever you go.

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The less sketchy side of the city.

From my route along the very pretty boardwalk at the harbor I noticed a park across the way… with a hill.

You know how little kids (read: also me) can’t help but jump in puddles? That’s how I now feel about running hills. I see them and I need to run up them. Thanks TNT!

So I ran up it. Actually, to make it fun I ran up the stairs and then looped up and down the incline. Why not?

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view from a hill...

It was pretty from atop. I learned later from the concierge that it is called Federal Park?

It was buggy! Walking back into the hotel I got a lot of stares. I thought “What? Haven’t seen anyone sweat before?” But upon looking in the mirror, I learned what they were truly grossed out by:

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ok, the bugs stuck to me dont show up well here... but its pretty nasty

And that’s that! I fit a 4.5-mile sight-seeing running tour into my trip to Baltimore — or more accurately, a 4.5-mile sight-seeing running tour of the safe parts of the inner area of Baltimore.

Next stop on the “Liz runs on business trips” series… (drumroll please; this is gonna be fun!) … Barcelona!

I leave today. Stay tuned!

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…. soooo… give up??

In four weeks from now I will be sitting down, hopefully somewhere with delicious food and alcohol, celebrating the second biggest physical accomplishments of my life. (Backpacking across England still takes the gold!) I will have run a half-marathon… 13.1 miles… up and down and all around the San Francisco hills.

Oh, wait, did you know I was training for half-marathon? ha! ha! ha! (Yes, yes, the email and blog harassment will stop after the race.)

So what does that mean? I got four weeks to get in better half-marathon shape and to stay in better half-marathon shape. I want to be at my peak for this thing and, I must confess, the last few weeks I’ve been lazy! But that all changed this weekend.

Friday night I went out for the first time since last weekend’s 16-miles-in-26-hours stunt. It was a good warm-up for Saturday’s race — the Fitness Magazine’s Mind, Body, Spirit Games 4-miler! Easy four miles throughout Central Park so I gave it as much as I had and ran it in record time. I maintained a less-than-10-min/mile pace the entire time. WOO HOO!!! That is awesome for me!

See?? I rocked it!

All the training is paying off — and the nice cool weather is helping! If I recall correctly, I ran my first 5k in about this time back in 2008 when I began to run casually here and there. So for someone who was always told she wasnt a runner, noooot bad! GO ME!

To kick up the training a bit, I had plans to go out with a friend to conquer some awesome hill workout he designed nearby his place in Queens. Time and other obligations prevented it so instead I headed out this morning to find some hills near my house. I hit up Levy Park in Merrick upon my dad’s recommendation. It’s a huge garbage dump that they covered over (I hope safely), grew some greenery and created a park with views of the surrounding towns, the bay and even the Manhattan skyline… off in the distance. And since it’s, well, one big hill, it was great hill training!

Here are some views from my run:

Manhattan in the distance... can you see? Look close!

Other people hiking the hills too... (they were walking; doesnt count!)

There is fishing!

Overlooking the bay... you can see the Jones Beach water tower and theater in the distance!

Someone else was out for a morning Sunday run. Well, I think she was out for food but it turned into a run when she got wind of me invading her territory.

 

Great place for hill training. Love it!

Gravel hills took a little getting used to but I’ve always preferred trail running… I think my next move needs to be to somewhere with lots of hilly trails… hmmm…

 

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I’ve been slacking on the blogging. Oops. My bad. Rest assured my lack of blog love is not representative of my running love.

Quite the contrary actually… I had my best run EVER today! I also had my worst run ever earlier this week, but hey, no rain, no rainbow.

However, this entry isn’t about running; it’s about why my cousins, Suzanne and her husband Sean, are the awesomest parents ever! Let’s call them Seanzanne; they deserve a Hollywood name!

I am currently on Amtrak on my way to Seanzanne’s kids’ birthday party!

Jacquelyn turns 4 on Sept 11…

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…and Liam turns the big 1 on the 15th.

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And in lieu of adding more toys to the playroom pile, they have asked that their friends and family donate to the infamous half-marathon I am running for LLS. (Have I mentioned I’m doing that?)

How sweet are they? Here is the backstory.

Suzanne and I were close growing up. Well, not physically, we lived hours apart, but we spent summers on Long Island creating renditions of Ace of Base performances (along with cousin Katie we had a hot ladies trio) and practicing suntanning at the beach. When I visited them upstate we spent the days running around the mountain they lived on and helping grandma get her first speeding ticket — “Faster! Faster! Drive down the mountain as fast as you can!” *police sirens* (Oops!)

When we weren’t together, we wrote letters to each other like crazed pen-pals… seriously!

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Suzanne and I at the birfday party!

Growing up Suzanne dreamed of having a family with a wonderful hubby and fantastic kids, while I imagined being a back-up dancer to Madonna. As we “matured,” Suzanne continued to dream of chasing kiddies around and sought out a career in child care. (I, thanks to ADD, gave up the Madonna dream before I learned what a virgin was.)

When Sue married Sean after college I couldn’t have been happier for anyone. She had found her Prince Charming and they were both excited to embark on their happily ever after. They suit each other perfectly.

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You can imagine the impact of the news they received a few years later when Seanzanne was enjoying life with a lil baby girl — Sean was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and had to go for chemo treatment.

Sean has been cancer-free for more than three years now!!! WOOO HOOO!!

Made from the same uncommunicative genes, Sue and I didn’t talk much about it, possibly not at all until recently. But when I realized at the information session that Hodgkins was under the LLS umbrella, it gave me a personal inspiration to run for LLS. When the runs get hard, knowing I’m running for a cause that’s helped someone I care about keeps me motivated!

Sean has made my cousin’s dreams come true. And for that reason alone I love him… it doesn’t hurt that he happens to be funny, ambitious and an awesome father and husband — even if he only eats chopped meat in certain shapes. (So weird!) Oh and we’re going running tomorrow. He used to run cross-country so he’s totally on board with this crazy training.

I am so appreciative that they are supporting my run so I can support a cause that has helped their family stay healthy and happy.

(You can too! Click HERE to donate and make sure to submit it in honor of “Jacquelyn and Liam” (under the Add Comment section) to wish them a very happy birthday!)

I also can’t wait to get there to bake cupcakes and chase the kiddies around. I mean, look at them. HOW CUTE ARE THEY?

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Happy Birthday!!!
LYLAC. xx

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… and had my best run ever! Which surprised me since I was running to Jersey. Ok, ok, I’ll be nice to the state. I really don’t have anything against America’s armpit; I was just raised on Long Island and therefore am culturally trained to mock Jersey. Can’t help it. And the fact that the second I stepped foot on the GW Bridge a stench of sewage swarmed up my nose doesn’t help it’s case. (Seriously it stunk!)

Ok, ok.

This run was awesome! Here are the highlights:

1. WB Upper-deck De-virginization
It was my first time crossing the bridge westbound on the upper deck. Not sure why this is significant but considering the amount of times I have driven across that thing and have never found the ramp to the upper deck…

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2. Jelly Belly Sport Beans.
BEST. DISCOVERY. EVER. I bought these on a whim because Coach Christine told us in an email that “orange sport beans” were her favorite, and, well, I’ll do anything Coach Christine does. BEST. DISCOVERY. EVER. I actually ate a handful before I ran — along with a banana it was the perfect pre-run brekkie!

3. Barefoot Runner on GWB
Yeah, I get the barefoot running trend but across the GW? Not safe! Everyone in our single-file TNT line looked around at each other in agreement — Not Safe!

4. My First Ever Pee Break
As the girl in the stall next to me perfectly put it, “Note to self: be a man in next life.”

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The bridge that I just crossed off in the distance from our pit stop in the Palisades Park! I ran that! WOO!

5. HILLS!
I ROCKED THEM! No walking this time!

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TNT running through the Palisades Park!

6. Water Belt Success
I finally got my arse a hydration belt. And since I didn’t order it online like I had planned and had to pay full price like an idiot, I got myself a pretty pink one! It took me about a half-mile to get used to it. Never doing a long run without it — packed with jelly beans of course — again.

7. Ten Miles — Again!
I hit the double digits, and this time I loved it. No contemplations about quitting. I could have even run another three and completed a half. (Tomorrow I might be singing another tune!)

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Ummm, did I just run through that?

I couldn’t be happier about today’s training. After my last ten miles at the JackRabbit race and my worse run ever earlier this week (not even worth talking about), I had gotten a little disheartened.

But the running gods are looking out for me. I am sooooo on my a-game and SOOOOOOO ready to kill this thing!

San Fran… Here I come!

 

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